CHRISTMAS could come early for councillors in line to receive a £100 parking subsidy after introducing fees for the public last year.

Following an extensive fact-finding trip which included interviews with Wokingham Borough councillors, the Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP) recommended member's out-of-pocket expenses be bumped up to £600, in addition to their £6,500 yearly basic allowance.

The suggestion comes a year after the council introduced a £1 over-night parking fee in all council car parks, including at its Shute End offices.

WBC's lone Labour Councillor Andy Croy has described the recommendations as "bonkers", calling on his Tory and Lib Dem peers to vote down the proposals on November 23.

He said: "With 54 councillors it will cost £5,400. It's not a massive amount of money but the message it sends is clear.

"For councillors to increase car parking charges across the borough for residents and then vote to give themselves a bonus is just bonkers.

"It comes on top of an across the board one per cent pay rise in the basic allowance. Again, in an environment where Scout groups are hit by swingeing increases in rent, school patrols have been made redundant and bus services are being cut, one would hope that the local Tories show just a semblance of the leadership which the national party so clearly lacks."

While Cllr Croy believes Conservative councillors asked for the pay rise during the IRP inspection, it is not clear if that is the case as interviews are not made public.

Cllr Charlotte Haitham Taylor, leader of the council, said: “The final version of the IRP’s report has yet to be published in the council agenda, so it would be pre-emptive for me to set out a determined view on any particular recommendation.

"I would emphasise that the Panel is independent of the council and councillors, and puts forward its recommendations based on fact-finding from other councils, evidence gathered earlier in the year from interviews and surveys of councillors of all parties, and the Panel members’ individual knowledge and expertise."

The IRP is made up of three Wokingham Borough residents.