Councillors’ allowances could rise

Portsmouth Guildhall
Portsmouth Guildhall
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councillors in Portsmouth could be in line for a pay rise.

An independent panel has been looking into how much councillors should be entitled to for both a basic allowance and in return for any special role they fulfil.

The panel bases its recommendations on the principle that being a councillor is similar to working half-time.

It links the allowances to the UK median wage – the middle figure in the whole spread of earnings nationally.

Panel chairman Professor John Craven, vice chancellor of the University of Portsmouth, said: ‘We’re totally independent of councillors and can look at this issue impartially.

‘The purpose of allowances is to recognise that councillors’ duties may prevent them from earning what they could.

‘Our recommended increase to the basic allowance simply reflects the increase in general earnings nationally.

‘After consulting councillors and looking at other councils we decided the special responsibility allowances needed to be reviewed, to reflect the amount of responsibility involved in the posts.

‘We continue to recommend that no councillor should receive more than one special responsibility allowance.’

The panel has recommended that the basic allowance, paid to all 42 councillors, should increase to £10,550 a year, from £10,200.

It has also recommended recalculating some special responsibility allowances, which are paid on top of the basic allowance if a councillor holds a senior position.

Special responsibility allowances for the posts of opposition leader and other group leaders would be cut.

Total allowances for the leader post, including the basic allowance, would go up from £28,560 to £31,650 a year.

For a cabinet member they would go up from £17,340 to £21,100.

Total allowances for the opposition leader post would fall from £19,380 to £16,880, and total allowances for regulatory committee chairs would increase from £13,770 to £15,825.

Councillors will make a decision whether to adopt the recommendations at a meeting on January 22.