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Leading by example: Harlow councillors take pay cut

Politics / Fri 19th Dec 2014 at 03:13pm

HARLOW councillors have agreed to cut the allowances paid to Cabinet members by 5% from next year.

From April 2015, Special Responsibility Allowances* for the Leader of Harlow Council, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Portfolio Holders will all reduce. There will be a small change to the allowances paid to opposition group leaders to reflect the fact there are two opposition groups on the Council.

The annual basic allowance paid to all Harlow councillors has also been frozen at £4,720, which is the same level it has been since 2011 when the Council cut this allowance by £100 a year.

The Special Responsibility Allowances from April 2015 will be as follows:

Leader of the Council
£6,840 (cut from £7,200)
Deputy Leader of the Council
£4,655 (cut from £4,900)
Cabinet Portfolio Holders
£2,850 (cut from £3,000)
Leader of opposition political groups
£200 per group member to a maximum of £2,000.

The overall cut in Cabinet allowances will cover the increase from the change to allowances for opposition group leaders.

The changes agreed at last night’s (18 December 2014) Council meeting received cross-party support and followed a review by an Independent Remuneration Panel of the Council’s Members’ Allowances Scheme. The panel had recommended that the basic allowance doesn’t change and that the Special Responsibility Allowances remain the same with a change to allowances paid to opposition group leaders.

Councillor Jon Clempner, Leader of Harlow Council, said: “The independent panel noted that our allowances are amongst the lowest of all Essex and Hertfordshire Councils and following this decision they will continue to be. When we are looking at prioritising what services we fund we need to look at where we can save money and not increase spending to help protect services and not impact on residents.

“While services and jobs are being cut across the country due to budget reductions, increasing the allowances of public officials sends out the completely wrong message. We have a responsibility to take the lead in helping to keep spending down. Freezing allowances and cutting the allowances paid to senior Councillors is the right thing to do when residents continue to impacted by the economic pressures.”

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