Panel foils councillors’ £100k allowance rise plan

Tuesday, March 13, 2012
11:41 AM

CAMBRIDGESHIRE 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 reimbursed 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 to be 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 £7,610

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 be 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 be introduced.

The allowance paid for carers be amended so that it covers the actual costs associated with care.

Travel expenses be allowed 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 zero.

The report also indicated some areas the panel wished 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.

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 after it was revealed that the panel had been improperly convened. Council voted to ditch the report – and recommendation – and start again with a fresh panel.

INFORMATION: 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) e-mail: jim.milne@cambridgeshire.gov.uk. Copies can also be downloaded from the council’s web site at www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk

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