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Councillors reject £1,000+ pay rise in favour of £200 increase, basic allowance hits £9,000

By jrmaidment  |  Posted: March 21, 2014

Comments (6)

There aren’t too many people who would reject a major pay rise, but that’s exactly what councillors at Shire Hall have done.

Members of Gloucestershire County Council currently pocket a basic allowance of £8,800 a year.

But an independent panel has suggested that should be hiked up above £10,000, not only to recognise the hard work of councillors, but also to try and attract high calibre candidates to the role.

However, councillors wary of a backlash rejected the £1,000+ pay rise in favour of a more electorally palatable increase of £200, voting in favour of a basic allowance of £9,000 earlier this week.

Shire Hall staff have seen their pay increase by one per cent this year and another one per cent increase is anticipated in the coming financial year.

The £200 rise for councillors brings them in line with the pay rise given to council employees.

William Alexander, the chairman of the independent remuneration panel, presented his recommendations to councillors on Wednesday.

“We firmly believe that your basic allowance is too low and quite considerably too low, but now is probably not the right time financially to change it too greatly because you are a hung council,” he said.

“Instead of moving you from £8,800 to £10,000 as we wanted, or even greater, we are recommending it be moved up to £9,000.

“We have got to encourage and not discourage people from standing to be councillors. This does have an effect: Councillors give an awful lot of time to the council and that should be reflected.”

Ray Theodoulou, deputy leader of Gloucestershire County Council, believes the agreed pay rise is “appropriate”.

“The allowance has been frozen since 2008 in Gloucestershire and although it was suggested by the independent panel that the rise needed to be higher to take this into account, council agreed that one per cent was appropriate considering its financial constraints.

“This increase also brings members in line with all council staff.”

Councillors also agreed to make changes to the amount of money paid to members who chair committees.

The special responsibility allowance will dip from £5,808 to £5,400.

The independent panel also raised questions about the salary paid to the leader of the council.

At the moment the leader receives £27,000 plus the basic allowance - a total of £36,000.

The panel believes that should be considerably higher.

Mr Alexander said: “We believe the role of leader is undervalued. They have such a great amount of responsibility and accountability – we would like to see it moved from three times the basic allowance to four times.”

The leader of the county’s Labour group, Lesley Williams, added: “I think given the current financial climate we are doing the right thing.”

The new basic allowance will take effect from April 1.

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  • TruthSeeker7  |  March 22 2014, 1:17PM

    shame mp's didn't consider something similar when they voted themselves an 11% pay increase!

    |   4
  • JemmyWood  |  March 22 2014, 11:58AM

    Zinboya, so... just because other councils are doing it... Its OK for ours to do it as well huh? Its the apathay of Joe Public that lets under performing councilors get away with drawing fat cat salaries. I still stand by my previous comments about Henchman Hawthorne and his ridiculous salary.

    |   4
  • zinboya  |  March 22 2014, 11:04AM

    Suggest the other posters on here should look around the country,and see the salaries of some of the real money grabbing fat cats running other councils.

    |   -5
  • SELINA30  |  March 21 2014, 6:04PM

    Hawthorne gets paid how much?

    |   5
  • RoadWombat  |  March 21 2014, 4:44PM

    They didn't have much choice, did they? They're all running scared with elections just around the corner. Now then, Citizen, how about publishing how they all voted? That WOULD be interesting!

    |   10
  • JemmyWood  |  March 21 2014, 3:29PM

    Finally,. the local politico's have realised they are currently as popular as a fart in a car and only given themselves a pay rise in line with council workers.... well done. Its not often I applaud GCC, but you've got it right this time. But...... Henchman Hawthorne gets £36K?????!!!!!!!??????? Unbelievable! will someone please enlighten me why he deserves so much? From what I can see, he is an autocratic tin pot local politico who has presided over one of the biggest wastes of tax payers money in the counties history. He has left the possibility of a massive millstone around our necks thanks to his and Stan the Burning Man Waddington's 'pet project' There is no way he is worth £36K, I wouldn't pay him £10K to be honest..... want savings?..... slash his salary to a more appropriate level.

    |   12