By Ian Dipple 31/08 Updated: 31/08 09:44
REDDITCH councillors are among the lowest paid in the country, new figures have revealed.
The basic allowance is currently £3,219, meaning the town’s representatives receive the least money in Worcestershire, are the third lowest paid in the West Midlands and are in the bottom 20 nationally.
Other positions do attract more such as council leader Bill Hartnett who gets an additional £6,697 while Conservative leader Carole Gandy gets an extra £4,687 and those councillors with specific responsibilities in individual areas get another £1,560.
Although not a salary, the money is intended to compensate councillors for the time and expenses they incur representing the public.
The figure is reviewed annually by the Independent Remuneration Panel which makes recommendations but successive councils over the years have opted to turn down any rise, leaving Redditch towards the bottom of the pile.
In contrast councillors in neighbouring Stratford District are paid £4,500 and close to £5,000 in nearby Wyre Forest according to the Taxpayers Alliance which released the figures.
Worcestershire county councillors are paid over £9,000 and in larger authorities such as Birmingham over £16,000.
Coun Hartnett, who also has a full-time job, said: “For a district or borough council I think it’s a good thing we draw from the widest variety of people as possible - young and old, working and non-working.
“It’s not a great deal of money; you couldn’t earn a living from it and if we worked out how many hours we put in it would probably be below the minimum wage but people don’t get into it for the money, that’s not the driving factor.”
Coun Luke Stephens, the youngest member of the council and who has recently left full-time work to further his education, said an increased allowance would be useful as the number of hours he could work part-time had been restricted by his council work.
“More money is never something I’d ask for but because we don’t get paid more it does tend to be retired people with wealth or people who can afford to go part-time who are councillors.
"That said if the allowance was more you wouldn’t necessarily get a lot of young people wanting to become councillors, it’s more than just a money situation, but it would be easier.”
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