THE council cabinet members set to benefit from the widely criticised hike in allowances have continued to tow the majority Tory group line.

When questioned this week by the Times Series, not one of the ten senior Conservative party members on Barnet Council would speak out against the increases of up to 40 per cent.

Only Kate Salinger, Conservative ward councillor for Coppetts, chose not to vote for her party's policy, for which she paid the price of losing all her committee roles.

Council leader Lynne Hillan, who is set to benefit from up to an extra £20,000, has previously gone on the record as saying the increase “makes good sense to me”, but has made no comment since the vote was carried last Tuesday.

Deputy leader, Councillor Andrew Harper, who could now be on as much as £51,000, declined to comment.

Councillor Brian Coleman, cabinet member for environment, has been leading on the issue, and along with all the other cabinet members, stands to collect £34,780 on top of the basic councillor allowance of £10,597.

He has already declared he would take what he was entitled to, and said the decision was about “localism, localism, localism”.

Councillor Melvin Cohen, cabinet member for governance and civic affairs, insisted it was the right decision.

He added: “I voted for it and that was the decision of the council, so I don't digress from that.

“There is no time that would be the right time. The council is constantly facing shortages of cash. It's an allowance increase that should have been dealt with some time ago, because the council has constantly not taken what it is rightly entitled to.”

Councillor Richard Cornelius, cabinet member for housing, planning and regeneration, said: “There's no increase in the overall cost of the allowance scheme.

“It removes the anomalies of the old scheme we used to have and it pays the people who actually do the work and redistributes it away from those who didn't.”

Councillor Sachin Rajput, cabinet member for adults, said: “My view is my party's view.

“I am a member of the group and the council have taken a view. It must be a proper view if the majority of the council have taken it. I side with the council.”

Councillor Joanna Tambourides, cabinet member for community safety and cohesion, said “It's a clarification of the system of allowances approved by the cabinet and by the group and therefore by the council.”

Councillor Robert Rams, cabinet member for customer access and partnerships, declined to comment.

Councillor Daniel Thomas, cabinet member for resources and performance, and Councillor Helena Hart, cabinet member for public health, both failed to respond despite repeated attempts to contact them by the Times Series.