Chairman of the Pensions and Investment committee to get £8,800 pay rise

THE CHAIRMAN of Powys County Council’s Pensions and Investment committee is set to receive a pay rise of just under £8,800 a year.

Councillor Peter Lewis
Councillor Peter Lewis

At a council meeting on Thursday, September 23 a discussion took place on whether to pay Councillor Peter Lewis (Conservative) the “equivalent” of a Senior Responsibility Allowance (SRA) for his work.

The recommendation for the payment was because the workload in the role has increased in recent years.

Back in May 2019, following a review of payments for committee chairmen across the council a decision was taken a decision not to award the role a senior responsibility salary

Head of finance, Jane Thomas told councillors that she believed back in 2019 they had not received enough evidence of the workload involved and why the role deserved to be salaried.

She added that the money to pay the extra allowance would come from the pension fund itself.

Labour’s Councillor Huw Williams who is a member of the pensions and investment committee said: “The workload has increased, and the responsibility is significant, we are a part of the Wales Pensions Partnership and he chaired that last year.

“He’s a great example of how we should operate, he has knowledge, experience and understanding,”

“I would fully support the recommendation.”

But others were not so supportive and pointed out that there were other committee chairmen who also deserved a senior salary but didn’t get one.

Councillor Gwilym Williams said: “I realise it’s a big responsibility, I understand it will be paid from the pension pot, but it’s all taxpayers’ money.

“Does this set a precedent?”

“Cllr Elwyn Vaughan chairs a committee (Democratic Services) that has more meetings shouldn’t we consider paying him an SRA?”

Head of legal and democratic services Clive Pinney said: “If Cllr Gwilym or any others feel that we should review the SRA’s in the council that’s a matter we can consider, and it can be looked at by the Democratic Services committee.”

Councillor Roger Williams said: “This should be done as a review of all the other chairs.”

He pointed out that PCC paid into the fund and any money taken out would need to be covered by the council.

Councillor Gareth Ratcliffe believed the council needed to be “sensible” and put the proposal through scrutiny in the Democratic Services committee.

Council leader Cllr Rosemarie Harris believed that councillors should not be comparing the Pensions and Investment committee with other council committees.

An amendment to have the proposal looked at by Democratic Services was defeated by 37 votes to 26.

The vote to give the payment succeeded with 42 votes for and 19 against.

This means that on top of the basic pay of £14,368 a year this move will see Cllr Lewis’ pay go up to £23,161 which is on a par with other Powys’ other scrutiny committee chairmen.

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