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  Labour Vote Themselves a Massive 31% Pay Rise (with help from their Tory friends) The Labour/Tory coalition controlling Hartlepool Council have voted themselves a 31% pay increase. The move comes as public sector workers remain tied to an annual 1% and many in the private sector are being forced to accept even less. The increase, which was recommended by an Independent Remuneration Panel, was voted through by 17 Labour councillors with the help of all 3 Conservative councillors.

The Chief Winners

No guessing who the chief winners are following the increase of £1,839 to the basic allowance. The Leader of the Council’s allowance is calculated as 3 times the basic allowance plus a 4th increase in the basic allowance as a sitting councillor. That nets a total increase for the Leader of the Council, Christopher Akers-Belcher of £7,356. Put this on top of the rise in basic allowance for his husband Stephen Akers-Belcher and that makes a grand total increase in income for the Akers-Belcher household of £9,195. Christopher Akers-Belcher will see an increase of  £7,356 to £31,168 for his part-time role as Council Leader. When this is combined with his other part-time job as Manager of Healthwatch, a contract which is itself awarded by Hartlepool council, he will now earn in total more than the former elected Mayor, Stuart Drummond. In fact, the Chairs of almost all of the council committees will see a rise of £3,678 in their income including Ray Martin-Wells, Chair of the Audit and Governance Committee who, along with his two Tory colleagues, also voted for the increase despite it being their own Conservative Government which has limited public sector workers, like the Grenfell Fire-fighters, to a 1% increase.

Re-Election Jitters

No fewer than 3 Labour Councillors who had obeyed the party whip and voted themselves a 31% pay rise last month have since had a late change of heart‘. . . . it’s probably just a coincidence that all 3 are up for re-election next May !

The Opposers

PHF, Independent and UKIP Councillors all voted against the increase while 3 Labour Councillors: Cllr Hunter, Cllr Harrison, Cllr McLaughlin, abstained after the party whip was imposed. The total cost of the increase is expected to be around £75,000 per annum which, as it has not previously been budgeted for, will now have to found from other council resources.
How They Voted
The Lights Go Out On Hillcarter Bankruptcy Petition Filed Against Hotel Owner Morton Mystery surrounds the future of the 32 room Hillcarter Hotel in Church Street which has been unoccupied and in darkness for several days. The hotel owner, Brian Morton, is facing a personal bankrupt order from petitioner Armada Investments Limited of Exeter which filed the petition on 14th November last year. Morton, who owns several businesses in Hartlepool including the Sports Domes and Staincliffe Hotel at Seaton Carew, claimed in 2014 that he was investing £250,000 in the building as part of a refurbishment plan. However, the hotel is understood to have been cut off from the electricity supply as a result of unpaid bills and that it has been using portable generators ever since. The Hartlepool Vision earmarked the 26-bedroom hotel, located in Church Street, as one of eight areas of the town to breathe new life and attract new jobs into Hartlepool. As part of the revamp six extra en-suite bedrooms were created as well as a new sports lounge, a re-fitted Hillcarter Lounge and an ambitious rooftop restaurant.

Staff Struggle to Get Paid Wages from

Vision Entrepreneur

The practice of not paying employees their due wages is not exactly new to Hartlepool Labour Party; it’s something with which they don’t seem to have a problem. Labour Councillor Angie Wilcox did just that at Manor Residents Association. Staff found themselves having to wait weeks to receive wages and if they were paid at all, some were paid less than the minimum wage and had tax and national insurance payments deducted but not forwarded onto Government departments. No Labour councillor has ever spoken up in support of the Manor Residents employees that were fleeced by one of their own councillors. We shouldn’t be surprised then to see other Labour Councillors lining up for a promotional photo-shoot with another employer who shows the same reticence when it comes to paying his employees, as they did in May 2014. Now a former employee of Brain Morton’s Hillcarter Hotel has chosen to tell of what it’s like to work for one of Hartlepool’s Vision Entrepreneurs. “I was working at the hill carter hotel, and not once got paid! - employees that are currently working there haven't had any wages for months! He then becomes impossible to get hold of and ignores your texts and calls to avoid paying you! He is also the manager of the Staincliffe hotel and the sports domes and staff there aren't getting paid neither! Unless you want to work for free do not apply for those jobs!! My job will be advertised soon I would have thought so just a heads up to everyone !!!” Staff at the Headland’s Mary Rowntrees will be familiar with the story above. When Brian Morton was in control of the up market tea room they experienced similar difficulties. We can’t say if staff at Morton’s other businesses, The Seaton Sports Domes and The Staincliffe Hotel have had similar experiences but neither have been without their own problems. The Sports Domes recently suffered a deflationary experience which Morton claimed was due to a technical malfunction while others suggested that the had been disconnected from the electricity supply after unpaid charges. It’s also been alleged that the Hillcarter Hotel is currently running on generators. Last year, the Staincliffe Hotel business in Seaton was put into administration only to resurface under a new company name immediately afterwards. It’s not known how many creditors were left unpaid as a result. In 2014, there was a rush by the council to spend an undisclosed cash-windfall to be paid by Morton in place of 15 years of installed payments which had been agreed with the council in 2012 for the release of a covenant on the Domes land. The money was never received.
The Lights Go Out On Hillcarter Bankruptcy Petition Filed Against Hotel Owner Morton Mystery surrounds the future of the 32 room Hillcarter Hotel in Church Street which has been unoccupied and in darkness for several days. The hotel owner, Brian Morton, is facing a personal bankrupt order from petitioner Armada Investments Limited of Exeter which filed the petition on 14th November last year. Morton, who owns several businesses in Hartlepool including the Sports Domes and Staincliffe Hotel at Seaton Carew, claimed in 2014 that he was investing £250,000 in the building as part of a refurbishment plan. However, the hotel is understood to have been cut off from the electricity supply as a result of unpaid bills and that it has been using portable generators ever since. The Hartlepool Vision earmarked the 26-bedroom hotel, located in Church Street, as one of eight areas of the town to breathe new life and attract new jobs into Hartlepool. As part of the revamp six extra en-suite bedrooms were created as well as a new sports lounge, a re-fitted Hillcarter Lounge and an ambitious rooftop restaurant.

Staff Struggle to Get Paid

Wages from ‘Vision

Entrepreneur

The practice of not paying employees their due wages is not exactly new to Hartlepool Labour Party; it’s something with which they don’t seem to have a problem. Labour Councillor Angie Wilcox did just that at Manor Residents Association. Staff found themselves having to wait weeks to receive wages and if they were paid at all, some were paid less than the minimum wage and had tax and national insurance payments deducted but not forwarded onto Government departments. No Labour councillor has ever spoken up in support of the Manor Residents employees that were fleeced by one of their own councillors. We shouldn’t be surprised then to see other Labour Councillors lining up for a promotional photo-shoot with another employer who shows the same reticence when it comes to paying his employees, as they did in May 2014. Now a former employee of Brain Morton’s Hillcarter Hotel has chosen to tell of what it’s like to work for one of Hartlepool’s Vision Entrepreneurs. “I was working at the hill carter hotel, and not once got paid! - employees that are currently working there haven't had any wages for months! He then becomes impossible to get hold of and ignores your texts and calls to avoid paying you! He is also the manager of the Staincliffe hotel and the sports domes and staff there aren't getting paid neither! Unless you want to work for free do not apply for those jobs!! My job will be advertised soon I would have thought so just a heads up to everyone !!!” Staff at the Headland’s Mary Rowntrees will be familiar with the story above. When Brian Morton was in control of the up market tea room they experienced similar difficulties. We can’t say if staff at Morton’s other businesses, The Seaton Sports Domes and The Staincliffe Hotel have had similar experiences but neither have been without their own problems. The Sports Domes recently suffered a deflationary experience which Morton claimed was due to a technical malfunction while others suggested that the had been disconnected from the electricity supply after unpaid charges. It’s also been alleged that the Hillcarter Hotel is currently running on generators. Last year, the Staincliffe Hotel business in Seaton was put into administration only to resurface under a new company name immediately afterwards. It’s not known how many creditors were left unpaid as a result. In 2014, there was a rush by the council to spend an undisclosed cash-windfall to be paid by Morton in place of 15 years of installed payments which had been agreed with the council in 2012 for the release of a covenant on the Domes land. The money was never received.
“I’m very excited by the Hartlepool Vision and was keen to buy into it and play my part in the revitalisation of Hartlepool.” Brian Morton May 2014  “It is really encouraging that another business has backed the Hartlepool Vision. The Church Square area is a key part of our future vision where we aim to provide a skills quarter providing learning opportunities and accommodation for young people.” Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher May 2014
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