COUNCILLORS in Malvern voted to increase their allowances this week. 

At the full council meeting of Malvern Hills District Council, members were asked to vote on an increase to allowances, having deferred the decision last year due to the pandemic.

Council leader Cllr Sarah Rouse put forward the move to adopt the increase, saying: "Last year we set the increase aside because of Covid and it was the right thing to do.

"It is always incredibly hard to do this as councillors and decide how much we are worth.

"I know how hard councillors work and how much we contribute to our communities.

"We don't want a situation where only the rich or retired people with other incomes can become councillors, we want as many different people to do it as possible because that way we get a more diverse council and better councillors."

Conservative councillor Douglas Godwin said "If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys" saying councillors should get their pay rise.

The council was asked to vote on an increase of 2.75% per cent for a basic councillor's allowance. This works out as £4,650.

The leader's allowance will increase from £13,311 to £13, 950, while the deputy leader's allowance goes from £7,764.75 to £8,137.50.

Individual portfolio holders will see their allowance increase from £6,655.50 to £6,975.

Conservative councillor Jeremy Owenson said he was "nervous" about the pay-rise, highlighting the fact many in the district are still out of work due to Covid.

He said: "I want to highlight the point about professional councillors.

"When I stood for council, I did it to serve the community, not for remuneration - I didn't even know councillors got paid.

"Standing for council should not be about making money, it should be about serving the community - that is why I didn't stand for county council.

"I will probably vote against this as it is turning the district councillor into a professional individual rather than as a public servant."

Cllr Martin Allen initially said he was in favour of the increase, but said he would not accept it if it were voted through.

He called for the council's independent panel in charge of remuneration to impose it on the council, rather than ask them to vote for it.

His sentiment was echoed by Cllr Daniel Walton, who said he and a few colleagues felt uneasy about voting on their own pay.

Councillors voted to accept their pay rise.