September 2 2014 Latest news:
Sunday, March 23, 2014
An independent panel has proposed increasing county councillors’ basic allowance by almost £1,000.
This would give councillors an allowance of £8,600 a year but, Cambridgeshire County Council insists, the overall budget for allowances would be less than the current system. The allowance would still be below the £10,000 national average.
The rise in allowance has been recommended as CCC is moving to a committee system, scrapping the cabinet, in May.
The full council will consider the proposal on Tuesday.
A survey, answered by a third of county councillors, showed that the majority of respondents believed their allowance was “too low” or “much too low”. Six of the 23 replies said they were satisfied.
As leader of the largest group and council leader, Conservative Councillor Martin Curtis would be paid £16,000 in addition to the £8,600 allowance. Currently, he is paid an additional £22,000.
The leader of the main opposition, Lib Dem Morris Leeke, would see his special responsibility allowance reduced to £7,000 from £11,394.
The committee system will have five service committees – Adults and Wellbeing; Children and Young People; Economy and Environment; Health; and Highways and Community Infrastructure – each of 17 members with proportionate representation from the political groups.
There will also be a general purposes committee which will provide a strategic overview.
The chairman of each committee would be given a special responsibility allowance of £12,000.
The allowances report said: “A significant majority of respondents stated that they felt that the basic allowance was generally too low, and may not be at a level that would allow councillors to make the additional time commitment that may be required by the new system of governance.”
It also said it would not be appropriate to increase the total budget for allowances at this time.
The panel also suggested councillors could be asked to repay some of the allowances if they do not attend meetings.