Independent panel says county councillors should receive an extra £1,000 a year - but tell us what you think?

12:01 17 March 2014

County councillors are set to receive a 13 per cent – equivalent to £1,000 a year -increase in their basic allowance.

A review by an independent panel has recommended members’ basic allowances increase from £7,610 to £8,600 per year in May.

Almost half of councillors will also be entitled to special responsibility allowances under the proposals, which will be debated by council on March 25.

The review says a £990 rise in basic allowance is necessary to help councillors cope with an increased workload which will come about when cross-party committees are introduced in May.

It said: “The increase is intended to raise the basic allowance to a more appropriate level for councillors by covering the costs associated with the role more effectively, as well as reflecting the additional workload on all councillors resulting from new governance arrangements.

“If adopted, this will still place the allowance paid by the council significantly below the average basic allowance paid by English county councils, which is over £10,000.”

Special responsibility allowances will replace allowances given to Cabinet members, which are being scrapped.

They will be limited to group leaders, deputy leaders, service committee chairs and vice-chairs, the chairs of the pensions fund board, audit committee and planning committee and the councillors appointed to the adoption and fostering panels.

On top of a basic allowance, council leader Martin Curtis will receive £16,000 and his deputy £12,000, while committee chairs will get £12,000 and their deputies £9,000.

The leader and deputy leader of the other political groups will also receive special responsibility allowances calculated on the number of seats they hold in council.

Councillors will be able to claim expenses for attendance at full council or any other committees, working groups, formal briefings, parish and town council meetings and chairman’s events.

But they will not get to claim for attendance at political group meetings or other party political events.

The panel also recommends records of councillors’ attendance at meetings become more accessible to the public.

Three years ago the county council voted through a 25 per cent rise but this was later dropped when it was realised it had not followed the correct procedures.

What do you think a councillor is worth? Email your views to the editor: john.elworthy@archant.co.uk

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