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Councillors ‘uncomfortable’ with the way their salaries are reported

17 May 2024 4 minute read
Crickhowell, Powys. Image: Andrew Boden

Elgan Hearn Local Democracy Reporter

Work will be done by a committee to better explain what councillors do for their wages following complaints that some are “uncomfortable” with the way their salary and expenses are reported annually.

At their annual meeting on Thursday, May 16 Powys councillors received a report on the basic pay and expenses that “must” be paid to them by the council.

Councillors will receive an extra £1,066 in their pay packet which takes their basic pay up to £18,666.

The pay increases follow the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales (IRPW) agreeing the salary increases, expenses, and benefits for 2024/2025 when they met in February.

“Difficult” matter

The IRPW’s decision came into force for all of Wales’s local authorities on April 1.

The report needed to be agreed as the council has a legal duty to publish the schedule of remuneration within a month of the annual meeting and “no later” than July 31.

Cllr Gwynfor Thomas said that it was “always difficult” to speak on matters of salary and expenses and that it had been a source of discussion within the Conservative group.

Cllr Thomas said: “The matter has been rightly reported in the press and the matter has caused uncomfortable situations for some of us.”

“Members of the public raise that issue of an annual rise with us, it certainly happened to me.”

Cllr Thomas said that he had explained all of his work as a councillor to a person who had raised the issue of pay with him.

Cllr Thomas explained that this person told him after their conversation that they “better understood” councillors work and he (Cllr Thomas) provided “value for money.”

Cllr Thomas said: “That’s my point, I’m not sure than when we report this that our statutory reporting reflects the work we do.

“I would like to suggest that the Democratic Services committee does a piece of work on this to help demonstrate that.

He didn’t believe that noting how many council meeting a councillor had attended was a good measure of their workload as it does not mention what they do in their ward.

“Not a true reflection”

Cllr Thomas pointed out that a councillor could only attend six full council meetings in a year and be given a 100 per cent attendance rating.

Cllr Thomas said: “We feel that is incorrect reporting as many of us have endless amounts of meeting that are not recorded or reported in our attendance.

“It’s not a true reflection of what happens.

“Some councillors don’t play such an active part in the governance of this authority and maybe are very active ward councillors.”

He believed there should be an opportunity to “demonstrate that.”

Newly installed Democratic Services committee chairman Cllr Graham Breeze of the Powys Independents group said: “It is a matter that I had in mind anyway and I will give assurance that it will be taken up by Democratic Services.”

Councillors approved the report.

As well as the basic salary rise, increases will also be made to the salary of the leader, deputy leader and cabinet members.

The roles of scrutiny committee chairmen, and leader of the opposition also get a rise of £533 this year going up from £8,800 to £9,333 which is paid on top of the basic salary.

The role of scrutiny committee vice-chairmen goes up to £4,667 which is up from £4,400.

The increases in Powys are:

Council leader salary will go up to £62,998 an increase from £59,400.

Deputy leader salary will go up to £44,099 an increase from £41,580.

Cabinet member salary will go up to £37,799 an increase from £35, 640.

Other roles with a senior salary – scrutiny committee chairmen, planning committee chairman, council chairman and leader of the opposition can all now receive up to £27,999 an increase from £26,400.

The deputy civic leader, and leaders of other political groups (with no less than 10 per cent of council membership) and deputy committee chairmen can receive up to £22,406.

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Linda Jones
Linda Jones
1 month ago

So they dont mind taking the money as long as no-one knows?

1 month ago

Remarkable to read that everyone associated with this council are male

Johnny Gamble
Johnny Gamble
1 month ago

If they have nothing to hide then they should have nothing to worry about

Ted Thonger
Ted Thonger
1 month ago

Large amounts are paid out in rises to local councillors in Wales on a regular basis. Ultimately paid for, of course, by us. One effect is that councillors are being cushioned against the policies they impose on us. Councillors’ rewards should linked instead to the real world of their constituents, many of them struggling financially, not least because of council tax – £260 a month for an E-rated bungalow in my own borough. So what is ‘the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales (IRPW)’ which sets councillors’ wages? Who are they, what is their background, and what is the criteria they… Read more »

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