Independent review set to cut allowances at Fenland Council - some cabinet members will lose £800 a year

Council leader John Clark (left) with some of his cabinet colleagues at Fenland Hall

Council leader John Clark (left) with some of his cabinet colleagues at Fenland Hall - Credit: Archant

Some senior cabinet members at Fenland Council are to get a pay cut following a review by an independent panel that will see £20,000 shaved off the members allowance budget.

The report, to go to councillors next month, will remove the differential between those portfolio holders being paid £9,354 a year and those with “less portfolio holder responsibility” being paid £8,418 a year.

The independent panel says that although some may have more work to do “each cabinet member has an equal vote at meetings and the same responsibilities in relating to making individual portfolio holder decisions”.

Instead the report says the different levels need to be abolished and replaced with an equal allowance of £8,500.

Planning and scrutiny committee chairmen will see their ‘pay’ cut slightly from £8,148 to £8,000.

And the vice chairmen of both these committees will have their £1,637 a year top up deleted.

The decision to re-instate the role of deputy leader in July has “historically attracted an allowance” says the independent panel – but it’s not necessary or needed.

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“Following consideration of the evidence from member interviews, it was considered that this is an important role,” they conclude. “However the role does not demand a significant commitment over and above the role of a Cabinet member”. They concluded it did not merit any additional payment.

And the panel has insisted that the maximum number of “special responsibility allowances” can be paid to councillors drops from two to one.

“The overwhelming feedback from members was that there were enough members on the council for the responsibilities to be shared across that membership without the need to overburden one member with one more than one special responsibility,” the panel concluded.

The council currently pays out £338,460 a year in allowances but these will drop to £318,757 once the new scheme is introduced in April – a saving of £19,703.

The independent panel was made up of Gerard Dempsey, a business consultant, with Rosemary Green, chairman of the Fenland chamber of commerce and Ian Ramshaw, a sales executive working with him.

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