COUNCILLORS in Swindon won’t be taking an across-the-board cut in their allowances.

And the news might come as a relief to motorists – because the money would have been used to pay for two more traffic wardens.

The borough's Liberal Democrat group leader Stan Pajak had proposed the cut.

His motion suggested shaving 10 per cent from the allowances paid to all councillors. That would save £76,700, which Coun Pajak would pay for two more parking enforcement officers at a total of £57,000. The £20,000 left over would be used to implement more parking regulations.

He said: “Parking is always one of the big issues that councillors hear about. People get really fed up with bad or dangerous parking.

“I actually first submitted the motion before the Covid-19 lockdown, but it has become more apt now.”

After some procedural issues, Coun Pajak’s motion was debated and voted on as an amendment to a report on the independent remuneration panel’s recommendations.

That says every councillor should be paid £8,723. The leader receives a special allowance of £26,000, the deputy leader £16,000, each cabinet member £13,000 and committee chairmen £6,000 on top of that.

Coun Pajak moved an amendment to cut all allowances by 10 per cent.

He said: ”Now is the time to show some solidarity with the people of Swindon who have suffered during the lockdown.”

The motion was opposed by the council’s cabinet member for finance and deputy leader Russell Holland.

He said: “The whole point of having an allowance for councillors is to allow people who might not otherwise be able to be councillors to do so.

“It was only in the early 1900s that MPs received an allowance – until that time only a certain sort of person became MPs.

“You might say it’s only a 10 per cent cut – but someone else might say 'let’s cut it entirely', and that would completely inappropriate. We have an inclusive approach to allowances which allow everyone to be a member.”

Councillor Tim Swinyard said members who wished to give up increases in their allowances could do so.

He said “I haven’t had a pay rise since 2015. Send it to charity, send it to Dressability, it’s a fantastic charity. Just send an email to payroll and they’ll sort it for you.”

The motion was seconded by independent councillor Oliver Donachie.

He said: “Individual councillors can give up some of their allowance – and maybe some already do. This is about taking a collective decision to show solidarity with the people of Swindon.”

The amendment to the report, which also encompassed the motion, was overwhelmingly defeated when put to a vote.