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Croydon Council leader Tony Newman calls on predecessor Mike Fisher to resign over 'immoral' £10k pay rise

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DEMANDS that council opposition leader Mike Fisher thinks about resigning have come today as it emerged he had taken a £10,000 increase in pay in his last year as council leader.

Councillor Tony Newman, the leader of the council, said Councillor Fisher's action in taking the 20 per cent increase was "an act of hypocrisy and betrayal" at a time when the then Conservative council had been making millions of pounds of cuts to services, and living standards for most residents in Croydon were falling.

And Cllr Newman has warned Cllr Fisher to be wary about claiming any more extra "back pay."

He said: "We are prepared to go to court on behalf of the taxpayers to fight tooth and nail to stop any extra money being handed over.

"There is no moral or ethical justification for what is happening. It is unbelievable."

There was, however, nothing the council could do about the increase Cllr Fisher had taken already, he said.

But Cllr Fisher made it plain that as far as he was concerned, he had done nothing wrong and was not considering standing down as leader of the council's Tory group.

Cllr Newman said the increase is revealed in the list of "wage" payments made to councillors in 2013/14 which is being published later today, conveniently, he claims for Cllr Fisher, after May's elections.

Cllr Newman, who defeated Cllr Fisher and the Conservatives in May's local elections, added: "To have covered his increase up in the run-up to the elections is such a serious action that Cllr Fisher should seriously consider his position."

Any legal argument is likely to centre around exactly what these terms salary payments made to cabinet members in Croydon are.

The present salary being taken by Cllr Newman as leader is £53,000 with cabinet members receiving around £43,000.

But it was back in 2010/11 that the Independent Review Body which looks at councillors' allowances nationally recommended the leader of Croydon Council should receive £65,000 a year and cabinet members should also receive an increase.

Cllr Fisher said today (Wednesday) that the council agreed to those recommendations but the cabinet accepted members "were minded not to take the increase at the current time."

That, he said, did not rule out cabinet members taking the increased allowance any time since.

Cllr Fisher said he had not taken any rise in 2011/12 and 2012/13, adding he had not yet decided whether he would now look again at that situation.

He said circumstances had changed since the 2010 review, adding: "The fact is, I hadn't had a pay rise for eight years and I decided I was going to need to take some of the money, which is what I did."

Cllr Fisher said he had taken an extra £10,000, not the full £12,000 to which he would have been entitled under review recommendations.

Accusing his Labour rival, he added: "I think Tony Newman is once again just stirring things up."

Croydon Council leader Tony Newman calls on predecessor Mike Fisher to resign over 'immoral' £10k pay rise


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