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Councillors set for six per cent pay increase

13 Nov 2023 3 minute read
Wrexham Council’s Guildhall. Source – Google Street View.

Rory Sheehan, local democracy reporter

Councillors have been recommended for a six per cent pay increase from April next year.

An independent body, the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales (IRPW) which sets councillors’ salaries, is recommending an increase of more than £1,000 a year from £17,600 to £18,666.

Wrexham councillors have until December 8 to answer a questionnaire and have their say on the proposal which would be confirmed early next year and introduced in the spring.

It will be discussed by Wrexham Councillors at the authority’s Democratic Services committee this week.

A report to that committee states that the salary is proposed on the basis that the role of councillor is equivalent to that of an average constituent working full-time three days a week.

It says: “The proposed increase to the basic salary from £17,600 to £18,666 equates to a 6.06 per cent rise and would take effect from April 2024.

“The basic salary will be aligned with three fifths of all Wales 2022 Average Hourly Earnings in Wales (ASHE).”

As well as basic councillor salaries the leader of the council, deputy leaders, the mayor and members of the ruling executive board will see their payments rise too.

Council leader

The council leader role salary could rise from £59,400 to £62,988, while the deputy leader salary would increase from £41,580 to £44,099.

Executive board members could see their annual salaries rise from £35,640 to £37,799.

Aside from the leader, there are seven other members on Wrexham Council’s executive board with one current vacancy – expected to be filled at the next full council meeting.

Under the proposals, the leader of the largest opposition party would see their salary increase from £26,400 to £27,999 while chairs of committees will see their salaries increase to the same figure.

The Mayor of Wrexham’s salary would also increase from £26,400 to £27,999, along with an increase in the deputy mayor’s salary from £21,340 to £22,406.

Allowances are set at a level to ensure anyone from any background can become a councillor, so that there are no financial barriers excluding anyone from standing, restricting the opportunity to only those who can afford to.

In its annual report published last month, the IRPW says: “The basic salary, paid to all elected members, is remuneration for the responsibility of community representation and participation in the scrutiny, regulatory and related functions of local governance.

“It is based on a full time equivalent of three days a week. The panel regularly reviews this time commitment, and no changes are proposed for 2024 to 2025.

“The panel is fully aware of the current constraints on public funding and the impact its decisions will have on the budgets of principal authorities. The panel is also mindful of our aims and objectives to provide a fair and reasonable remuneration package to support elected members and to encourage diversity of representation.”

The report notes that any member may write to the council to forgo any part of their payment under the determination of the panel for that particular year.

If the increases are accepted as per the IRPW report, there will be a budget increase of more than £100,000 for 2024-25 for Wrexham Council to absorb.

The authority is currently making in-year savings after staring at a £23m overspend in the summer, and is likely to have to find a similar size saving again when setting the budget for next year.

Wrexham Council’s constitution and democratic services committee meets on Thursday (November 16) to discuss the report and its proposals.

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Sarah Good
Sarah Good
6 months ago

Maybe not a popular response, but we’re all suffering the cost of living crisis.
£18,600 for a 3 day week is pretty modest for a responsible job, assuming they work that and don’t get to claim excessive expenses.
I mean few professionals would apply for such low wages.

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