Lib Dems vote to reject allowance proposals

March 31, 2009 3:35 PM
Rosalind Wright

Cllr Ros Wright

Liberal Democrats on Norwich City Council will vote to reject proposals to amend councillor allowances this Tuesday.

The proposals would mean that the annual allowance for councillors of £5,404 remains unchanged from the last review in 2005. However, the allowance for the role of the leader of the council would rise from its current rate of £6,485 to £10,000, and executive members would get £7,500, up from £4,539.

Commenting, Cllr Rosalind Wright, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, said:

"Whilst we sympathise with the need to simplify councillor allowances and to reflect the workload of councillors, we feel it would be insensitive and inappropriate to agree significant increases for some allowances.

"Many people in Norwich are suffering the effects of the recession and losing out financially. Increasing councillor allowances at this time sends out all the wrong signals.

"I very much believe in the need to recompense councillors appropriately for the important service they perform, and for the need to attract new people to the job. We cannot achieve either of these if we pay peanuts. However now is not the time to be focusing on councillor pay increases. I hope that our colleagues from other parties will recognise this and also oppose the proposals."

Notes:

1) Proposals to be debated on Tuesday March 31st

Recommendations

To determine whether or not to accept the following recommendations of the Independent Panel:-

To implement, with effect from 1st April 2009, the following scheme of Members Allowances to be increased annually on 1st April, indexed linked to the pay increase awarded to staff by the National Joint Council for Local Government Services :-

1) BASIC ALLOWANCES (Payable to all Councillors) £5404

2) SPECIAL RESPONSIBILITY ALLOWANCES

Tier 1

Leader of the Council £10000

Tier 2

Executive Members £7500

Tier 3

Chairs of Audit, Licensing, Planning Applications, Regulatory and Scrutiny Committees and the Leader of any minority group that comprises minimum of 10% of the Council. £2500

Tier 4

Members of Audit, Licensing, Planning Applications, Regulatory and Scrutiny Committees & Chair and Vice Chair of Standards Committee. £1500

(Only one Tier 4 SRA to be paid to each councillor)

3) Travel and Subsistence Allowances to be paid at the same rates as Norwich City Council employees and be subject to the same requirements for claims and payments

4) Childcare and Dependant Carers Allowance to be paid at the rate of £8.00 per hour per child etc.

(The Head of Regulatory and Democratic Services to be authorised to make additional payment in cases where specialist care is required)

5) Membership of the Local Government Pension Scheme is not available as part of this Members Allowances Scheme

6) The Independent Panel to be reconvened no later than 4 years after the implementation of the new scheme.

Financial Consequences

The current budget provision is £316400. If the scheme recommended above is approved the budget required would be £325352. The additional cost of £8952 will have to be met from within existing budget provision.

2) Current Allowance Scheme

MEMBERS' ALLOWANCE SCHEME 2008/9

With effect from 1 April 2006, the following scheme of Members Allowances will be increased annually on 1st April, indexed linked to the pay increase awarded to staff by the National Joint Council for Local Government

Services :-

BASIC ALLOWANCES (Payable to all Councillors) £5404

SPECIAL RESPONSIBILITY ALLOWANCES

Tier 1

Leader of the Council £6485

Tier 2

Executive Members & Leader of the major minority group £4539

Tier 3

Chairs of Scrutiny, Planning Applications, Licensing and Regulatory Committees and the Leader of any minority group that comprises minimum of 10% of the Council £2271

Tier 4

Members of Planning Applications, Regulatory and Licensing Committees £1298

Tier 5

Chair and Vice Chair of Standards Committee (Co-opted) £325

o Only one SRA to be paid from Tiers 1, 2 and 3

o Up to three SRAs to be paid from Tier 4 except that a Councillor shall not get a Tier 3 allowance as Chair as well as a Tier 4 allowance as a member of the same committee.