Shropshire councillors freeze annual allowances

Councillors in Shropshire have agreed to freeze their allowances for the next financial year.

Shropshire councillors freeze  annual allowances

Members of Shropshire Council will receive a basic allowance of £11,514 a year, with those with special responsibilities receiving more.

At a full meeting of the authority, council leader Malcolm Pate said he believed members worked hard for their allowances.

"We don't set our allowances – an independent party sets that out and we go with that," said Councillor Pate.

"I think members and those with extra responsibilities work extremely hard for the money. If they did it for outside organisations they would be paid lots more money.

"I think even group leaders work hard for the special responsibility allowance that they take," he said.

Councillor Nic Laurens backed the leader's assertion.

"If we are to encourage diversity of members, we need to pay a reasonable allowance," said Councillor Laurens.

"These are set by an independent panel and therefore I think they are reasonable.

"I am open about allowances and what I am paid. If people stop and ask I say, 'Do I bring more benefit than 68 pounds a week for my SRA to the council'. I would say I do.

"If as members we don't feel we should take it, we should give it in."

The council's 74 elected members will receive a basic allowance of £11,514 with special responsibility allowances paid to authority leader Malcolm Pate, his deputy Steve Charmley, cabinet members, chairmen of special committees and opposition group leaders – 24 councillors in total.

These range from £5,757 extra to an extra £23,000 for the leader.

But Councillor Duncan Kerr said the allowances paid by Shropshire Council were far higher than other local authorities nearby.

"We could take a 10 per cent cut and still be paid considerably more than other authorities," said Councillor Kerr.

"What is it about Shropshire that makes us think we can have higher allowances?"

Councillor Miles Kenny said: "We do pay ourselves quite a lot of money.

"The public see us as feathering our nests and doing very little work to further their cause.

"Do we really need to pay quite so much in special responsibility allowance?"

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