THE leader of Somerset County Council has criticised a proposed pay rise of more than 25 per cent for the head of a government-backed regional business partnership.

Somerset County Council will be voting against the pay rise for the Chief Executive Officer of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, which is tasked with bringing prosperity to the region.

The HotSW LEP had proposed to increase the CEO Chris Garcia's pay package increase from £90,729 to £115,000.

Somerset anticipates that the Devon County Council representative at the meeting will take the same stance against the proposal.

Somerset County Council leader John Osman said his vote was not personal but was on principle. “As a local authority subject to significant government cuts, I cannot support a pay rise of 25 per cent for any high level official,” he said.

“It is clear the CEO does a good job and the LEP has brought many millions of pounds into the Somerset economy. But there has to be recognition of the tight financial times in which we live.

“I disagree with the proposals put forward by the board and have made my views very plain.”