Review panel recommends increase in allowances

PUBLISHED: 13:13 23 February 2007 | UPDATED: 22:37 28 May 2010

A VICAR, a former college principal and a voluntary worker plan to give Fenland s 40 district councillors a 12.9 per cent pay rise. The trio, who make up an independent panel on allowances, recommended the double-digit rise and plan to give some Cabinet m

A VICAR, a former college principal and a voluntary worker plan to give Fenland's 40 district councillors a 12.9 per cent pay rise.

The trio, who make up an independent panel on allowances, recommended the double-digit rise and plan to give some Cabinet members a back-dated increase.

Although all councillors will now receive an annual basic allowance of £3,729 instead of £3,303, there will be winners as well as losers in the share out of special responsibility payments.

The losers will be the 19 ordinary councillors who sit on either the planning committee or overview and scrutiny committee and who currently get paid an extra £451 a year. From May 1, that payment will cease.

"The panel notes that none of the other district councils in Cambridgeshire pays ordinary members of these committees," says a report to yesterday's full council.

The resultant saving can be used to contribute towards increasing the level of basic allowance, says the panel.

However, one winner will be the chairman of planning, who will get a 25 per cent rise to bring his special responsibility payment in line with that of the overview and scrutiny chairman.

"The panel acknowledges that the chairmanship of planning is a high-profile position and that development control decision-making attracts public attention more so than any other function of the council," says the report.

The panel said the method of paying Cabinet members had shown some unfairness, and four members would get back-dated payments.

From April, however, the leader of the council would receive £14,775, and Cabinet members receiving a sliding scale of payment reflecting the size of their portfolio.

The independent panel comprises Mark Taylor, former principal of the Isle College, Janet Feary, a voluntary worker, and the Rev Wim Zwalf, vicar of St Peter and St Paul, Wisbech.

The panel rarely meets and among its recommendations was that a new panel be recruited for the next review.

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