On Thursday July 13th, County Councillors met to consider a report by their Independent Remuneration Panel on the level of the payments made to them as councillors. The IRP recommended a small rise of 1.5% They pointed out that KCC pay levels were already high, and officers had found only 2 councils in the entire country paying more than KCC. They said that KCC staff and other workers in hospitals, police and so on, were being limited to low pay rises. They also said the majority of 30 councillors they interviewed said the pay was ‘about right’.
However, Conservative Councillors proposed out of the blue that their pay rise should instead be 15%. The rise applies not just to the basic allowance of £13,000 that all councillors receive, but also to the Special Responsibility Allowances between £9 to £42K which Committee Chairman, Cabinet Members and others receive. The IRP recommended that should not change at all.
The total cost of the increase is £245,000.
Trudy writes “ I’ve rarely been more angry. The Lib Dems have consistently said that pay for councillors should be set BEFORE the county elections so voters knew what they were voting for. Yet here we were barely two months after the KCC elections, being asked to agree a whacking 15% rise.
Conservative members said they needed to attract younger people to become councillors. True, but you don’t need to do that till the next elections in four years time. In the meantime, it goes into the pay packets of existing councillors. They said they worked hard. Possibly, but so do nurses, police, social workers and others whose pay rises have been far less. They said that the rise was fair compared to lots of other people. Possibly, but the Independent Panel knew all about them, and still said a modest rise was enough
Some extraordinary things were said in the debate. I recommend watching the webcast on the KCC website and that’s not something I do very often!
Only one Conservative Councillor voted against the proposal, saying he didn’t think people outside County Hall would understand such a high rise. Too true! The Lib Dem proposal to accept the IRP recommendation was voted down by all Conservative and Labour councillors.
I have been asked if I intend taking the raised level of my own pay. It’s a fair question. Like other councillors, I use allowances to pay for leaflets and other ways of keeping residents in touch, and in supporting local volunteer groups. So if I do not take the rise, I am disadvantaging my residents compared to others, which I do not want to do. So I shall take the rise, and report back, through Headline, to you on what I do with it. I hope that’s fair.
Watch Cllr Trudy Dean saying no to the Conservative pay rise.