County councillor allowances under the spotlight in Cambridgeshire

PUBLISHED: 11:05 12 July 2017

Cambridgeshire County Councillors allowances go under the spotlight PHOTO: Pexels

Cambridgeshire County Councillors allowances go under the spotlight PHOTO: Pexels

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County councillors could get a rise in their basic allowance to make up for an increasing workload from larger new boundary areas.

An independent panel is recommending that elected members get an increase from £7,933.32 per annum to £8,600 per annum.

However, because there are eight less elected members there will still be a saving of £84,816 a year.

The recommended new allowances are 22 per cent below the present average £10,500 paid to county councillors in other two tier authorities in England.

Councillors voted to reduce the number of elected members from 69 to 61 from 2017, resulting in councillors taking on additional workloads linked to larger boundaries with increasing populations.

The panel recommends a slight increase in the payment made to leaders of political groups or committee chairs, but a decrease in that paid to their deputies.

The panel agreed that the current rate of basic allowance is too low and was not at a level that would allow councillors to make the time commitment to fulfil their roles effectively.

Members don’t receive a wage for their work at the council but in recognition of the time spent working for their constituents or representing them on a range of service committees.

It can see them spending 20 to 30 hours a week on their role.

County councillors receive a basic allowance plus a special responsibility allowance (SRA) for responsibilities including being a political group leader and chairing a committee.

They can only receive a basic allowance plus one SRA – no matter how many committees or panels they sit on.

An increase in the allowance for leader of the largest group on the council from just over £21,000 to £25,000.

The total county councillor 2016/17 allowance budget was £836.316. This new recommendation would see the budget drop to £751,500 - a reduction of £84,816.

On the panel are: Nicky Blanning, head of the accommodation service at the University of Cambridge, professor Alan Rodger. retired director of the British Antarctic Survey with 30 years’ experience leading national and international science organisations,

In addition Colin Wiles, a consultant providing services to housing associations and other similar bodies.

They were helped by Paul Hanson, democratic services manager from Northamptonshire County Council.

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