On the fifth day of Christmas my council gave to me….5p a mile

FENLAND councillors will end 2011 with an unexpected bonus as they get a 5p a mile increase in their expenses BACKDATED to May.

The surprise recommendation, agreed by a majority vote of councillors, will mean that instead of getting 40p a mile they will all be paid 45p a mile.

The surprise rise was agreed by councillors and was part of the shake up which saw all councillors get a 14.5 per cent rise in their allowances.

Tribute was paid to the late Councillor Roger Green of Wisbech who had advocated the extra 5p a mile for councillors on official business.

“One of the amendments that the late Cllr Green had made great play of was that the mileage had been held at 40p for 10 years,” notes a report to councillors this week.

“This was increased to 45p by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in March therefore Cllr Melton proposed that all mileage claims be backdated to May 18.

“He was pleased to see that the (independent remuneration) panel had recommended that mileage be tied to HMRC recommendations.”

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Before his death Cllr Green had called for improved expenses after claims that in the last four years they had received on average of just 73 p a week which had been swallowed up in fuel prices.

Cllr Green had said: “In that time petrol has gone up significantly by about 28p a litre and I think the committee should look at this when they next meet.”

Cllr Melton said in February that “I do have some sympathy over the petrol at 40p a mile because this has not been altered despite the price going up but members who wish to raise the mileage rate should realise that anything over and above 40p is subject to taxation.

“Everyone working in the public sector, including our staff, are expected to make sacrifices. If we were to suddenly raise the rate for mileage it would send out the wrong message to the general public.”

In November he agreed to do just that- and unexpectedly back dated it too.

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