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Allowance jump for unitary council

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Reported pay rises of up to 40% are being proposed for councillors on Northumberland's new unitary council.

According to the Newcastle Journal, rates for the 67 members of the new council have been recommended by an independent remuneration panel and will be subject to public consultation.

The rises are said to reflect the extra workload councillors will face on the authority from April.

The newspaper website says the package includes an increase of almost 40% in the basic allowance paid to all county councillors - up to£12,500.

It also involves the council leader’s special responsibility allowance - paid on top of the basic sum - going up from£19,000 to£27,000.

A final decision is not expected until February following a full public consultation exercise on the 2009-10 budget.

A bid by Labour councillors to defer the new allowances for several months until the unitary council was fully up and running was defeated by Liberal Democrats, Conservatives and Independents.

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