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Allowance increase represents 2.5 per cent per year

Boston Borough councillors with special responsibilities will receive a ten per cent increase in their allowances from next April following a recommendation from an independent panel.

Currently the borough council's leader receives a special responsibility allowance of £6,487 a year. In neighbouring South Holland it is £19,320. East Lindsey's leader gets £12,444 and South Kesteven pays £14,223. The average for the county is £12,372.

With the increase Boston's leader's allowance will rise to a maximum of £7,322 next year and £8,054 with another ten per cent increase the year after - still less than that currently paid by all other county authorities.

All cabinet members and chairman and vice chairman of committees, including the Mayor and Deputy Mayor, also fall way behind their counterparts at other councils.

Some of the other councils also give an extra allowance to opposition group leaders and deputy leaders and political group leaders, which Boston does not.

It will be eight years since the last increase before this increase is fully in place averaging at around  2.5 per cent per year.

The increase was recommended by an independent remuneration panel, operating under the principle that any suggested increase should be justifiable and defendable. The panel concluded that increases be phased over two years because of the reluctance of the council to accept significant increases.

Council leader, Cllr Peter Bedford, said: "There will never be a best time for increases, and there have not been any in Boston for six years. We have slipped further and further behind our colleagues in the other Lincolnshire authorities, and still remain substantially below them.

"It does demonstrate that we represent value for money here in Boston.

"Allowances are there so that no one is denied, for financial reasons, from becoming a councillor. They are recompense for the time that people spend on council business."

The basic allowance paid to all councillors increased this year and will increase for the next two but Boston is still ranked below 418 other councils out of 435, and still the lowest in Lincolnshire.

The current basic allowance is £3,052 . In 2010/11 when Boston's rate was £2,378 City of Lincoln Council paid £4,480, East Lindsey District Council £4,149, North Kesteven District Council £4, 052, South Holland District Council £5,796, South Kesteven District Council £4,380 and West Lindsey District Council £5,100.

 At Monday night's full council meeting Cllr Alison Austin suggested there should be a national scale agreed by an independent panel with adjustment according to the size of the electorate to ensure a more level playing field for all.

At the same meeting it was agreed to renew Chief Executive Richard Harbord's contract until July 31, 2015.