Herts County Council agrees to increase allowances for councillors

By Deborah Price - Local Democracy Reporter

20th Feb 2024 | Local News

 Herts County Council agrees to increase allowances for councillors. CREDIT: LDRS
Herts County Council agrees to increase allowances for councillors. CREDIT: LDRS

The allowances paid to county councillors are to increase by 3.96 per cent, after being agreed by a meeting of the county council.

The increase – which is reported to be consistent with the percentage increase awarded to local government staff earning a median wage – was proposed by the Independent Panel on Members' Allowances.

The rise will be implemented from April, after being backed by a meeting of the full county council on Tuesday (13 February).

As a result the 'basic allowance' that can be claimed by all 78 county councillors will increase by £448 a year, to £11,751.

'Special responsibility allowances' (SRA) – an additional amount for councillors with roles such as cabinet members, committee chairs and opposition spokespersons – will increase by the same 3.96 percentage.

That means that from April the leader of the county council will be eligible for a special responsibility allowance of £47,004 – an increase of £1,792.

The special responsibility allowance for the deputy council leader will be increased by £1,344 – to £35,253.

Meanwhile executive members will receive an SRA of £23,502 – which is an increase of £896 compared to 2023/24.

Deputy executive members will be eligible for an SRA of £11,751 – an increase of £448 compared to 2023/24.

However where an individual councillor holds more than one position of responsibility, only one 'special responsibility allowance' can be claimed – on top of the 'basic' allowance.

Leaders of the opposition groups receive an allowance that is dependent on the number of elected councillors in their party – but will increase by the same percentage.

And up to five spokespersons from the Liberal Democrat Party and three from the Labour Party will be able to claim an SRA of £5,875.

Meanwhile the SRAs available for the chairman of the overview and scrutiny committee and the chairman of the health scrutiny committee will now be set at £17,626.

There is an allowance of £11,751 available for the chairman of the council's audit committee, the pensions committee, the development control committee and for the chairman of the council.

In addition there is provision within the allowances scheme for travel, subsistence and dependants' carers' allowance.

In coming-up with their recommendations the Independent Panel on Members Allowances heard from Conservative Cllr Richard Roberts, Liberal Democrat Cllr Steve Jarvis and Labour Cllr Nigel Bell.

They considered a written submission from leader of the Independent/Green group Cllr Ben Crystall.

The panel compared Hertfordshire allowances to those offered by 12 other county councils – finding the average basic allowance to be £12,420.

That's £669 more than Herts county councillors will be eligible for from April.

     

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