Posted: Tue 13th Oct 2020

Updated: Tue 13th Oct

Councillors could receive £150 pay rise under new proposals by independent panel

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

Councillors in Flintshire could receive a pay rise of £150 per year under new proposals put forward by an independent panel.

The uplift of just over one per cent would take the basic salary for each of the 70 members of Flintshire Council up to £14,368 with effect from April 1, 2021.

Those in senior positions would also be given the same percentage increase, including cabinet members, the leader of the largest opposition group and most committee chairs.

The announcement of a much larger rise of around £3,300 per year for MPs was met with a significant backlash last week as many constituents face economic uncertainty because of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales said a “modest increase” was required for backbench councillors to prevent their salaries from falling behind.

In their draft annual report, panel members said: “The panel has consistently expressed its view that maintaining the democratic values of local governance cannot be cost free.

“Members of local authorities are there to represent the interests of local people, undertake the governance of local communities, and secure appropriate value for money public services for local tax-payers through effective scrutiny for which they are accountable to their community.

“These are significant and important tasks for members of the relevant authorities within the panel’s remit.

“Payments to members are made available to encourage a diversity of willing and able people to undertake local governance through their elected, appointed or co-opted roles.”

The report states that members’ basic salaries in Wales have risen by 7.9 per cent from £13,175 in 2013 to £14,218 for the current financial year.

It compares to a  31.1 per cent uplift during the same period for Senedd Members, who now earn £70,625.

Meanwhile, MPs have seen their pay go up by 23.4 per cent to £81,932.

The panel added: “Any adjustments in recent years have been in keeping with the panel’s principle that its determinations should be affordable and acceptable.

“This principle is maintained in the proposed increase for 2021/2022 – an increase in the basic salary of elected members of £150.”

The proposals will be discussed at a virtual meeting of the council’s constitution and democratic services committee on Wednesday (October 14) where members will be asked to provide their feedback.
The panel said councillors were unable to vote to refuse the pay rise for the all members, but individual politicians could decline all or part of the payment by writing to the relevant council officer.

Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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