BOROUGH UKIP councillors say they have rejected a 2.2 per cent pay rise and they are urging colleagues across the political spectrum to do the same.

Dudley Council has hiked up the basic allowance for councillors from £9,393 to £9,600 per year; members with special responsibilities have also received the rise including the leader of the council, whose annual pay packet has been boosted from £23,482 to £23,999, and the deputy leader whose annual salary has gone from £11,741 to £11,999.

Borough UKIP group leader, however, has slammed the pay increases as an "insult to the taxpayers of Dudley borough" at a time of austerity.

Councillor Paul Brothwood said: "With hundreds of staff on zero hour contracts and with council planning to cut £200,000 children's services, we would rather see frontline staff and services prioritised and not councillors' wallets.

"The Labour Group has already given massive pay increases to senior management in Dudley Council which only UKIP fought. They now want councillors to have a piece of the pie.

"The council is desperately short of money - I just can't believe they're offering a pay rise."

He said all seven borough UKIP councillors have rejected the rise and are asking for the money to be donated to the council's community forums to benefit residents and community groups.

Cllr Brothwood is now urging fellow borough councillors to reject the extra cash and "put the people of Dudley first". He added: "It's just not appropriate."

Councillor Pete Lowe, leader of Labour-run Dudley Council, said full council voted in October 2013 "to continue the practice of indexing members’ allowances in line with the staff pay award".

And he added: "The 2.2 per cent increase in January matches the award that staff have had.

“Some councillors have already made the decision to put the money into the community forum pot and arrangements are being made for this to happen.”

Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley's Conservatives, said he doubted councillors would have noticed the difference in pay and he branded the decision by Dudley UKIP councillors to reject the rise as "a headline seeking gesture that counts for nothing".

He added: "The Conservative Group are the only mainstream party in Dudley that wishes to reduce the cost of politics locally by a serious amount.

"Our proposals for all out elections once every four years would save close to a million pounds over a four-year period. This a serious amount to re-invest in frontline services."

He also believes costs could be cut by reducing the number of councillors.