A COUNCILLOR who stands to pocket thousands more in council expenses after voting through a new scheme says residents will be “delighted” by the changes.

Last night Barnet Council agreed to the new set of expenses to bring them in line with 20 other councils which will see leader Lynne Hillan pocket an extra £20,000 and cabinet members doubling their entitlement.

Councillor Brian Coleman, in charge of transport and the environment in the borough, who also pockets salaries from the Greater London Assembly and London Fire Board, defended the move.

He said: “I think residents will be delighted at a sensible scheme within Barnet. The London Councils scheme recognises the work councillors of all parties do.

“We have to look at allowances every four years and have done what 20 other councils have done. They recognise the changing role of the executive and services provided.

“The cabinet is getting nothing like its entitled to according to Sir Rodney Brook (report author). I will take the money I'm entitled to. No more, no less.”

He also denied the scheme would cost council taxpayers £15,000 more next year, saying there is a possibility the way the council operates could change before then under new powers from central government.

John Burgess, the chairman of the Barnet branch of UNISON, the public sector worker's union, said: “It's disgusting. We were lectured last night about how we have to help cut council services.

“I've sat in here and listened to how they just voted themselves a massive pay increase and I think council workers are going to go mental. I can't believe what I've just heard.”