Councillors’ bid for allowances body thrown out

By <b>Ian Dipple Friday 13 June 2014 Updated: 13/06 09:22

A BID by councillors to rid themselves of responsibility for setting their own pay has been rejected by the Government.

Councillors from all parties agreed last year to appeal to ministers to set up an independent body to regulate their allowances, similar to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority which rules on MPs salaries and expenses.

Although an independent committee is responsible for suggesting the level of any allowance rise, it is councillors who have the final vote. That has led to concerns they are being placed in an impossible position when deciding whether or not to accept a pay rise, particularly at a time of budget cuts.

But Brandon Lewis, local government minister, has dismissed the idea. In a letter to council leader Bill Hartnett he said it was a local matter for local councillors to decide on. Some councillors fear without a reasonable level of allowances the role of councillor will be dominated by the wealthy.

The pressure is now back on borough councillors, who are the lowest paid in Worcestershire, receiving a basic allowance of £3,350. To put Redditch councillors on a par with the average for the county would require an increase in allowances of almost £800. Such a move would cost more than £22,672 and is likely to be unacceptable given the need to make significant savings.

A similar move recommended by the independent renumeration panel last year to increase the basic allowance to £4,200 was rejected. Coun Hartnett told the Standard with a budget gap of about £2million to fill already for the next financial year it was not an immediate concern.

“I wasn’t surprised and guessed that would be the minister’s reaction but it was the wish of the council I write and ask the question,” he said.

“We are in restrained times and our government grant is being cut again so it’s a question of priorities. It’s not a priority of mine, it’s a priority of the council’s, but it’s not something that keeps me awake at night there, are bigger things to think about.”

Share This

Popular »

1 Fire hits town centre businesses and homes

2 Cash stolen from elderly man at ATM

3 Query over OAP bus use sparks angry row

4 Book looks on bright side of disability

5 NHS workers punched, kicked and scratched

More news »

Pair jailed for heroin dealing

A PAIR of drug dealers have been jailed

Childhood sweethearts tie the knot

A COUPLE who were childhood sweethearts having met

Supermarket brews up support for carers

STAFF from a town supermarket brewed up support

Family fun rolling in

A DOSE of family fun will be on

Regional news »


Bromsgrove Standard
Development of key Bromsgrove town centre sites a step closer

THE DEVELOPMENT of the two ends of Bromsgrove High Street ...

Worcester Observer

Visit the Worcester Observer website for the latest.

Stratford Observer
Branching out for charity

CARING Stratford residents can remember a loved one and help ...

Evesham Observer
Festive fare at fayre

HUNDREDS of pounds was raised when a Vale village hosted ...