Vote to decide pay rise’ for councillors

PUBLISHED: 17:39 10 January 2008 | UPDATED: 14:21 04 May 2010

COUNCILLORS will decide next month whether to give themselves a pay rise. An independent panel has recommended an increase for members of North Herts District Council in their basic allowance from £3,476 to £3,622. But such an increase will be more than

COUNCILLORS will decide next month whether to give themselves a pay rise.

An independent panel has recommended an increase for members of North Herts District Council in their basic allowance from £3,476 to £3,622.

But such an increase will be more than £1,000 above the £265,669 the council has earmarked for allowances in next year's budget.

And the Cabinet has raised the question of "budgetary consequences" about accepting the new allowance scale.

This may lead to "possible changes" in the recommendation, said a council spokes-man.

In a report, the panel said the increase of 4.2 per cent would be in line with "general inflationary trends".

And it considered, too, basic allowances which are available for members of other councils, and a members survey which raised various concerns about allowances payments.

Indeed, 35 members responded to the survey and 30 of those were not satisfield with the current level of members' allowances.

Comments from councillors included:

# "The community leadership role has changed dramatically. Basic members' allowances fail to recognise this."

# "Being a councillor at North Herts remains a privilege of those who can afford to undetake the role."

# "North Herts pays one of the lowest rates for members' allowances. I think related to the effort put in the allowance is too low."

# "We are the worst paid councillors from the Midlands to the south coast."

# "The public does not fully appreciate the work that councillors undertake or their responsibilities.

# "The current levels do not encourage members who work full-time to become councillors."

# "The members allowance actively discourages people from the role due to the time involved and the level of skill and dedication required for the compensation received."

The panel recommended, too, that an allowance to area committe chairman should be reduced from £2,837 to £2,327.

This is due to the setting up last year of the planning control committee which means an area committee no longer decides on planning applications.

It means, however, that the panel has recommended an allowance of £3,500 for the chairman of the planning control committee.

The panel predicts that during the year the chairman will attend up to 150 events concerning planning issues.

In a survey of other local authorities it was seen that one of the highest allowances went to members of Colchester Borough Council at more than £5,000-a-year while one of the lowest was £2,997 for members of South Beds District Council.

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