Winners and losers - but mostly winners- in the allowances money go round

FENLAND Council leader Alan Melton and his colleagues can expect a rise of about 8.5 per cent if they vote through the recommendation of an independent review next week.

It means Cllr Melton’s pay as leader, Cabinet member and councillor will be near to �30,000 a year.

He said this week it was a “justifiable increase” in councillors’ allowances “and not so way out as to cause concern.”

He said: “In times of austerity the report is relevant for where we are. The rise hardly keeps pace with inflation but I’m pleased with the work of the remuneration panel and the conclusions they’ve reached.”

Nicki Bantoft, a Wisbech accountant, chaired the independent panel which reviewed the allowance.

Last week Cllr Melton also spoke at Shire Hall, where he sits as a county councillor, and explained why he supported the 25 per cent in county councillors’ allowances

The proposed rise will mean an increase in councillors’ basic allowance to �4,531 a year – and councillors with special responsibilities will have that figure topped up, according to the role they undertake.

Most Read

The new payment package to be put before the council on November 3 shows there are some winners and some losers.

The extra payment for Councillor Kay Mayor, chairman of the licensing committee, for example, will more than double her pay but the extra payment for the vice-chairman of the Corporate Governance Committee, Councillor Mike Cornwell, is to be scrapped.

There is also a recommendation for “weighting” to be introduced to fairly reflect the differing levels of responsibility across Cabinet portfolios, with up to five Cabinet members receiving �9,062 while up to five others with fewer responsibilities receive �8,155.

It is also suggested that the council’s flat rate subsistence system should be scrapped, and replaced with a system of receipts being required. A tea allowance will be cut out; and the breakfast allowance set at �6.06; the lunch allowance at �8.43; and the evening meal allowance will be �12.50.

The report says: “Any claim for subsistence allowances must be backed by a receipt for food and drinks consumed within the relevant meal period. No claim may be made in relation to any meal period for which the council or any other body hosting a meeting has provided refreshments.”

The mileage rate will increase from 40 pence to 45 pence