Lib Dem leader ‘very very happy’ that allowances for Cambridgeshire councillors frozen following second review
COUNTY council Liberal Democrat leader Kilian Bourke said today he was “very very happy” that none of his fellow councillors will get a pay rise following a fresh review of allowances.
But there have been some tweaks to the system which will allow county councillors to be re-imbursed for mileage to parish council meeting and changes to carers’ allowances.
The independent panel tasked with reviewing members’ allowances has made its report public and will recommend no increase to the basic allowance �7,610.
“One thing the council will be looking at after the next election is giving the Cabinet a big bump in allowances, from �11,000 to �14, 000,” said councillor Bourke. “That aside we are of course very very happy that there will be no increase this year. We voted against it, we campaigned against it.”
He said Liberal Democrats would now campaign for the �100,000 extra set aside to fund a possible rise is allocated to providing free public transport for young people seeking employment, education or training.
The independent panel, chaired by David Sales, recommends that:
•The basic members’ allowance should remain at the current level of �7610
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•The current two tier structure of allowances for cabinet Portfolio Holders be replaced by a single tier of �11,697 (the average of the current two tiers), with no impact on overall costs.
•The allowances payable to the major opposition spokesmen are consolidated into five spokesmen and that each should receive an allowance of �6,380, with no impact on overall costs.
•A ‘one special responsibility allowance’ rule is introduced.
•The allowance paid for carers is amended so that it covers the actual costs associated with care
•Travel expenses can be claimed for attendance at parish council meetings
•All allowances are indexed to the annual percentage ‘cost of living’ award for local government staff at spinal column 49. The award for 2012-13 is 0%.
•The report also indicated some areas the panel wish to address in next year’s review relating to the workload of portfolio holders, the effects of localism, the work of the fostering/adoption panels and to further simplify the scheme.
Copies of the panel’s report are available for inspection at Shire Hall, Castle Hill, Cambridge, CB3 0AP Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm or can be supplied on request to Jim Milne (01223 715364) email: firstname.lastname@example.org Copies can also be downloaded from the Council’s web site at www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk
It is expected the report will be debated at Full Council on March 27.
A first attempt at a review – which recommended a 25 per cent increases in the basic allowance- was ditched following this newspaper’s revelation that the panel had been improperly convened. Council voted to ditch the report- and recommendation- and start again with a fresh panel.