AN increase in allowances that Malvern Hills councillors voted themselves this week has been condemned by the council's opposition group.

At the meeting on Tuesday, members voted 25 to eight with three abstentions to approve a package in increases that had been suggested by an independent remuneration panel.

The basic allowance is to be increased from the current level of £4,200 to £4,350.

There were also increases for the council leader, from £12,600 to £13,050, for the deputy leader from £7,350 to £7,612.50 and for portfolio holders from £6,300 to £6,525.

There were also increases for the chairs of committees and working groups, and for political group leaders.

Cllr Sarah Rouse, leader of the Democratic Group, said it was wrong for members' allowances to be increased when public sector workers' pay had been frozen.

She said: "It was said that raising the allowances will help attract a greater diversity of people to stand as councillors, but I don't think that's true. Only greater engagement in the community can do that.

"When the nurses and other public sector workers, including our own council staff, have had their pay frozen, councillors should not be increasing their own remuneration.

"In the agenda item, it was said that the proposed increase is a one per cent increase over the 2017/18 recommendation.

"But what it did not say was that that recommendation was never implemented, so in reality, the councillors are getting a 3.5 per cent increase on the previous allowance."