Essex councillors to receive 5% rise in allowances with costs to the taxpayer
News / Fri 12th May 2023 at 07:14am
ESSEX county councillors are set to receive a 5.3 per cent increase in their allowances – increasing the cost to the taxpayer by more than £60,000. The recommendation from the independent remuneration panel means the basic allowance will increase from £12,292 pa to £12,941 reports the Local Democracy Reporter.
In case you didn’t know Harlow has four county councillors. They are all Conservatives.
It means the total annual amount in basic allowance for all 75 councillors and two non-elected members is set to increase from £922,021.2 to £970,702. Special responsibility allowances are also going up by the same rate for those councillors who have specific roles such as the leader, deputy leader and cabinet members.
The total special responsibility allowance bill could be as high as £734,000 per year. The total combined expense of special responsibility allowance and basic allowances could be as a high as £1.7m not including travel and other expenses.
That is up from the total last year of £1.64m– albeit some councillors including leader Kevin Bentley have not taken the last recommended increase which could have taken him to £55,314. He is still only taking the 2021/22 total of £54,000.
Every councillor is entitled to a basic allowance each year to enable them to carry out their duties. There are also special responsibility allowances for certain roles such as acting as leader or deputy leader of a political group within the authority, or presiding at meetings of a committee or a sub-committee of the authority.
The purpose of the Independent Remuneration Panel is to review the allowances paid to councillors. These include allowances for councillors’ basic duties, special responsibilities, childcare, travel and substance. The panel makes recommendations to the council on the appropriate level of payments to be made. The panel is made up of local people, not connected with the council.
A statement to the full council due to meet on May 16 said: “Members are asked to update the constitution to reflect the new rates for the member allowances which apply automatically following the annual adjustment in line with the index agreed by the council when it adopted the new scheme of allowances in July 2022.
“The index chosen by the council is the Office of National Statistics Public Sector Pay index – this gives a percentage figure and avoids the difficulties that have been experienced by authorities who are linked to the national local government pay award. We can rely on this index for a period of four years from 2022.
“Some members choose to forgo any part of the allowance”.
What do these people do for us? I look around and I see so many potholes, one wonders whether the plan is for them to converge into one meaning the road will eventually be flat again. Must be wonderful being a Councillor. Lavish expenses and an express ticket to being selected for a safe parliamentary seat later down the line. These people disgust me.
Politicians and Local Government get rich of the backs of the tax payers. I wonder when we will just stop paying for these parasites
Shame they couldn't use the extra money to go towards repairing the thousands of pot holes that are currently blighting the roads of Essex.
So Kevin Bentley is still taking ONLY £54,000 ! How does he manage on that ?
I expect the Tory councillors justification is to misquote the Loreal advert: "Because we're worth it."
There was damage to the wall alongside my house which I thought was caused by the bushes contained by it. I wrote to Harlow Council who said in spite of the bushes maintained by them it was the responsibility of Essex Highways. I wrote to the responsible councillor, one of the above, who got one of their assistants to respond to me, she referred me to the Commission for New Towns which I believe didn’t exist any longer. I think it was abolished in 2009. Totally useless!
I don't object to the 5.3% rise, but to the fact that for year after year our Councillors seem to do have done little to encourage voters to support them. No wonder only 25% voted this month.