Barnet's leadership bid continues despite U-turn on members' allowances
PUBLISHED: 14:03 17 August 2010 | UPDATED: 17:05 07 September 2010
A BARNET councillor has vowed to continue with his bid to become leader of the council even though the incumbent, Lynne Hillan, has backtracked on a controversial plan to increase members allowances. Mark Shooter wrote to the 39 members of the Conservati
A BARNET councillor has vowed to continue with his bid to become leader of the council even though the incumbent, Lynne Hillan, has backtracked on a controversial plan to increase members' allowances.
Mark Shooter wrote to members of the Conservative Group on Barnet Council urging them to support him in his bid to become leader on Thursday.
In his letter, Cllr Shooter explained that he felt compelled to throw his hat into the ring after the council agreed to increases members' allowances by thousands of pounds, in July.
Cllr Shooter himself voted for the increase but said he felt pressurised into it and it was a "flawed decision".
On Monday, Cllr Lynne Hillan, the current leader of Barnet Council, issued a statement saying that she would recommend members' allowances remain the same as they were this year, so that none of the cabinet receives an increase.
However, Cllr Shooter has revealed that he still wants to oust her.
Cllr Shooter, who was elected as ward member for Hendon in May, said. "We need to restore the council's credibility and ensure that we have a viable leader who will make the tough decisions that we're going to have to make in the next few the years."
Cllr Lynne Hillan said the move to adopt the London Councils Scheme for members' allowances had been a "sensible one" because it reflected their increased work load. She added that the group decided to reverse the policy because the row was a distraction from council business.
"The move to the new scheme was a sensible one which was adopted by 20 other councils," Cllr Hillan said. "It reflected the additional work of the cabinet.
"I've been discussing this with various members of the cabinet and we've decided that we've got a much bigger agenda; there are bigger issues on the table.
"We're looking at cutting the budget by 25 per cent over the next three years. We can't do that without looking at how we provide services in the future.
"To have the distraction of members' allowances was not a sensible way forward."
For the full story see the Ham&High on Thursday (August 19).