Hands up if you want a pay rise

COUNCILLORS are planning to give themselves a pat on the back by raising the amount of allowances they are entitled to. They will make a decision tonight (Thursday) at the North Hertfordshire District Council full council meeting on whether to agree to a

COUNCILLORS are planning to give themselves a pat on the back by raising the amount of allowances they are entitled to.

They will make a decision tonight (Thursday) at the North Hertfordshire District Council full council meeting on whether to agree to a 13 per cent rise which will come into effect at the start of the next financial year, which begins on April 1.

This will see their basic allowances rise by over £400 from £3,075 to £3,476, a figure which has been set by an independent remuneration panel, unless they choose not to receive itl.

In a report to be presented at tonight's meeting, the panel said the basic allowance recognised the time councillors spend at meetings of the council, with council officers and with constituents.

The report said the money was "also intended to cover incidental costs such as the use of their homes and private telephones".

The panel has also recommended that £300 a year be paid to councillors for the use of home-based ICT equipment.

Most Read

If councillors agree to up their pocket money, then those who have a "special responsibility", such as the leaders of political groups and chairmen of committees, will also be due a rise.

For example, council leader F John Smith currently receives £6,611 for his role but this will increase to £6,912 in April.

Overall, the allowances budget for the next financial year will go up by over £26,000 to £275,580.

However, even if North Herts councillors agree to the rise, the £3,476 each they will receive would still be dwarfed in comparison to other councils covering Comet country.

At the moment, councillors at Stevenage Borough Council receive £7,066 in basic allowances and those at Mid Beds are given £5,992.

Councillors who serve the larger Hertfordshire County Council receive £9,125 and councillors voted on to Bedfordshire County Council are awarded £8,915 as a basic allowance.