Posted: Fri 4th Nov 2022

Councillors in Flintshire could be set to receive an extra £800 per year

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

Councillors in Flintshire could be set to receive an extra £800 per year, suggested by the independent body which sets their salaries.

The Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales (IRPW) which decides politicians’ pay has proposed the near five per cent increase which would take effect from April next year. But there is a consultation period up until December for the council to respond to the suggestion before the uplift is set.

If the change goes ahead it would mean the basic salary for a Flintshire councillor will increase from £16,800 per year, to £17,600 a year.

Flintshire Council’s Constitution and Democratic Services committee meets on Thursday (November 9) to share their thoughts on the proposal.

The IRPW report which will be looked at by the committee makes clear that after a significant rise in councillor salaries last year, there is only a modest increase proposed this year – behind the current rate of inflation.

It states: “The panel has decided that this year will be a year of consolidation.

“Major changes were put in place last year, and a significant uplift in salary levels was agreed.

“We wish to allow time for last year’s determinations to bed in and to allow the panel to continue its development of a research and evidence base to inform future decisions and move to a longer term planning cycle.”

As well as basic councillor salaries, the leader of the council, deputy leaders and members of the ruling cabinet will see their payments rise by 4.76 per cent too.

The council leader role salary could rise from £56,700 to £59,400, the two deputy leader salaries would increase from £39,690 to £41,580, and cabinet members could see their annual salaries rise from £34,020 to £35,640.

Aside from the leader and the two deputy leaders, there are five other members on Flintshire Council’s Cabinet.

Committee chairs (where remunerated) are set to see their salaries rise from £25,593 to £26,400, and the leader of the largest opposition party on the council could see their salary rise from £25,953 to £26,400.

Overall, the proposed increases would lead to an additional cost of £61,580 to be found in the council’s budget for 2023/24. The council currently faces an estimated shortfall of £24m in that budget.

But the proposed increase in councillor pay this year is significantly less than the 16.9 per cent increase last year.

At the time, Flintshire Councillors criticised the scale of the increase and the way it was implemented.

The IRPW says the basic salary, paid to all elected members, is remuneration for the responsibility of community representation and participation in the scrutiny, regulatory and related functions of local governance. It is based on a full time equivalent of three days a week.

Its report adds: “The panel has a duty to set payments that are fair and that encourage and enable democratic participation.

“It must also take account of affordability and acceptability. In making its determinations for this Draft Report, the panel considered a range of benchmarks, including past, current and projected indices and actual figures and the known and forecast extent and impact of multiple economic and social factors.

“These included post Brexit and COVID work environments and the cost of living, energy and climate crises.

“The panel’s proposals are consulted on and following consideration of the views received in response to its consultation the panel makes its final determinations which are published each year in its Annual Report.”

Flintshire Council has until December 1 to respond to the proposals via the consultation.

By Rory Sheehan – Local Democracy Reporter

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