Croydon's councillors have voted to give themselves inflation-busting allowance rises.

All councillors elected earlie r this month have seen their annual basic allowance increase from £11,264 to £11,596.

And most of the special responsibility allowances (SRA) have also been raised after councillors agreed increases just below three per cent.

The councillors' new allowances were agreed at the annual council meeting at Croydon's town hall the first meeting of the council under the new Conservative administration.

Councillors handed special' roles within Croydon Council, including leader of the council, deputy leader and cabinet members, are all eligible for an SRA allowance plus the basic allowance all elected ward councillors are entitled to.

While the allowances for 14 council positions have been raised, the entitlement of the chairman of the council's scrutiny and overview committee has dropped from £25,141 to £22,815.

The rise in special responsibility allowances and basic allowances means the new leader of the council Mike Fisher gets at least £51,951 from the town hall.

Councillor Fisher said: "This increase was finalised by the previous administration before we took control of the council so we've not put up these figures.

"The leader of the opposition and leader of the council are two very different roles. While I appreciate there is a rise, the role of leader of the council holds more responsibility than that of leader of the opposition."

In contrast, former leader of the council and new leader of the opposition Tony Newman has seen his yearly council wage fall drastically following Labour's defeat.

Coun Newman said: "Expenses have only gone up in line with local Government pay. Allowances are there to compensate members who are giving up earnings from their jobs. For senior cabinet members and leadership it's a job that needs to be done full time."

Speaking about his own drop in expenses, Coun Newman added: "That goes with the terrain. But being council leader is certainly a full-time job."

A Croydon Council spokes-man said: "The increase in members' allowances is tied in with the annual inflation increases in wages for all local Government staff, as agreed nationally. This year it was set at 2.95 per cent and allowances increased accordingly.

"The new administration has created a joint deputy leadership. In order that the overall payments to members did not increase, the money for this post has been found by reducing allowances elsewhere."

Councillors' allowances

06/07 (05/06)
Basic allowance 11,596 (11,264)
Mayor's allowance 18,646 (18,112)
Deputy mayor's allowance 9,324 (9,057)

Special responsibility allowances (paid in addition to basic allowance)

Leader of the council 40,355 (39,198)
Deputy leader 33,777 (32,809)
Cabinet members 30,707 (29,827)
Deputies 11,411 (11,084)
Chairman of scrutiny and overview committee 22,815 (25,141)
Chief whip (majority party) 13,823 (13,427)
Chairman of development control committee 13,823 (13,427)
Chairs of licensing and corporate services committees 11,411 (11,084)
Leader of the opposition 21,059 (20,455)
Deputy leader 11,411 (11,084)
Shadow cabinet members 6,586 (6,397)
Chief whip (minority party) 6,586 (6,397)