BRAINTREE councillors have voted they will not take a rise in member allowance this year.

Normally, the council’s members’ allowance would increase in line with the Local Government Staff Annual Pay Award, however, the 49 elected councillors decided not to take a rise at the last Full Council meeting.

The basic allowance is £5,154 rising to more than £20,000 for the leader of the council, Graham Butland, who has special responsibilities.

The yearly members’ allowance for 2022/23 will remain at 2021 rates and the decision will result in a budget saving for the council.

Mr Butland said: “Members of this council have taken the decision not to increase the members’ allowance for this coming year.

“This will have the benefit of not adding to the burden on the Council’s finances which are tight this year reducing the costs to taxpayers.”

Braintree Council is in the process of setting its budget against a continuing background of extreme pressures for councils.

These include the ongoing impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and global increases in prices and interest rates, alongside escalating costs and extra demand on council services.

A number of saving proposals to mitigate the budget gap in future years will be considered during the budget setting process, which concludes when the budget is agreed in February.