WIRRAL'S 66 councillors will be able to vote themselves an increase in allowances from around £171,000 in 1998/99 to a combined total of £436,000 for 99/2000 following a review of an independent panel.

The increase would put Wirral in a mid-range position compared with allowances paid to councillors on other Merseyside authorities.

The increase paves the way for cabinet-style local government, plus extra responsibility for councillors, and follows a Government White Paper, 'Modern Local Government in Touch With the People'.

One recommendation was that local authorities take a radical look at the way in which councillor allowances are awarded.

Last April, Wirral Council increased house tax by 6.9 per cent, three times the rate of inflation and the highest increase on Merseyside.

The panel's allowance report has just been published and has yet to go to council, although it was approved in principle at an earlier meeting.

A GOVERNMENT shake-up of TECS - as exclusively forecast in last week's Globe- has brought a mixed response from CEWTEC, the Wirral-based TEC. CEWTEC Chief Executive Alan Moody hopes the DTI Green paper "enables us to build on the significant strengths that we have in our Business Link operations."

Mr Moody fears a reverse growth in employer-based training. "I doubt that the new body, with its branch office structure, will have the strong local connections that CEWTEC has built. Neither will it have the same spirit of innovation or flexibility to create local solutions to local situations.

"CEWTEC has, however, thrived on change during the last eight years. Directors and staff will approach the next 18 months with commitment and enthusiasm."

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