Councillors set for allowance increase

Shropshire councillors could be in line for a pay rise under proposed changes.

Shropshire Councillors will vote on the allowance proposals later this month.
Shropshire Councillors will vote on the allowance proposals later this month.

An independent panel has recommended the basic allowance for all councillors be increased from £11,514 to £12,000, while the leader’s allowance will rise from £34,542 to £39,000.

The deputy leader and some committee chairmen will also see their extra allowances boosted, while other senior members including the council chairman and speaker will get a pay cut.

The amount councillors with caring responsibilities can claim will also be increased, in an effort to attract more diverse candidates to seek election.

The recommendations have been put forward following representations made to the panel from the chief executive, leader and other councillors.

A report by the panel to councillors says: “There was representation from some councillors of a need to increase the basic allowance, particularly in view of the reduction in allowance from that received in 2009, but this was not a universal opinion.

“Some councillors suggested an increase in the basic allowance would attract younger, and more diverse, candidates for election.

“There were also comments on the higher ‘workload’ experienced by councillors representing rural areas compared with urban areas.

“The panel understands that the basic allowance is an amount that will be paid to every elected councillor and there is no ability to vary that according to any differences arising from the peculiarities of the constituency that a councillor represents.

“The panel concluded that an increase at this time was justified.”

The council leader’s additional allowance multiplier – which decides how much more different roles receive – is proposed to be increased from two to 2.25.

The report says: “The majority of councillors who expressed a view considered that the level of responsibility of the leader had increased significantly.”

The additional allowance multiplier for the deputy leader is also recommended to be increased from 1.25 to 1.5.

Coupled with the basic allowance increase, this will see the total allowance for the deputy leader increased from £25,907 to £30,000.

Cabinet members will continue to receive double the standard member allowance, as will chairmen of scrutiny committees. Planning committee chairmen will see a slight increase.

Opposition group leaders with at least 10 per cent of members on the council will continue to get one-and-a-half times the basic allowance.

The extra allowance for the council chairman, its civic head, is to be reduced from a multiplier of 0.75 to 0.25, and that of the speaker, who chairs meetings of the full council, will be cut from 0.75 to 0.5.

The report says: “The panel considered that the existing special responsibility allowance was not commensurate with the role, particularly when compared to the other roles attracting a special responsibility allowance.”

The multiplier for deputy portfolio holders’ special allowance will also be cut, from 0.5 to 0.25.

The report also proposes increasing the allowance councillors can claim to cover the cost of paying for care of a dependant child or adult while carrying out council business.

This is currently capped at £6.19 per hour up to a maximum of £2,500 a year.

The report says this should be increased to the actual cost or national living wage, whichever is lower, to a maximum of £3,500 a year.

It says: “Several councillors referred to the desirability of younger and more diverse candidates seeking election to the council.

“The panel considers that the existing allowance is too low and could inhibit those with caring responsibilities from undertaking council duties.”

The report will be discussed at a full council meeting next Thursday, February 25.

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News