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May 23, 2011 12:31 PM

Liberal Democrats on Cornwall Council have welcomed the decision by councillors to reject a plan put forward by Conservative Leader Alec Robertson to increase the amount paid to an inner circle of councillors.

Cllr Robertson had proposed that a remuneration panel be set up to establish the pay level for a new tier of councillors to be known as 'Cabinet Support Members'. Liberal Democrats Cllr Jeremy Rowe and Cllr Alex Folkes proposed that there should be no pay for these posts and their amendment was supported by 55 votes to 35.

"We are delighted that the majority of councillors supported the Liberal Democrat view that it would be wrong to increase the amount paid to councillors," said Cllr Jeremy Rowe, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group. "It is entirely the wrong message to send out to council staff and to the public that, at a time when services and jobs are being cut, the only part of the Council that is expanding is the amount spent on members' allowances."

"We have no objection to the idea of involving more councillors in the decision making process of Cabinet - in fact we encourage it! But we do not think that there should be more pay for such support members. Councils up and down the country survive with a maximum of ten cabinet members. Why should Cornwall be different."

Cllr Alex Folkes, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group added:

"The Conservative Leader's reshuffle is in tatters. He introduced cabinet support members to try to buy off critics within his own party. Now they won't get paid, will they be willing to do the job? And his coalition partners, the Independent Group, were so unhappy about the proposals that they have refused even to nominate the Cabinet Support Member for Education."

"According to newspaper reports, Tory MP George Eustice is now advising the Conservative group on their tactics. Clearly he has not got off to the best of starts if today's meeting was anything to go by."