Linconshire county councillors approve increase in allowances

Lincolnshire County Council
Lincolnshire County Council

Lincolnshire county councillors have voted to increase their allowances by 23 per cent.

This means they will now be allowed to claim £10,100, up from £8,184. Council leader Martin Hill’s special responsibility allowance will rise by 56 per cent from £20,448 to £32,000, although Coun Hill (Con) had earlier said he would not accept the increase.

Members decided to pass recommendations from the Independent Remuneration Panel at a meeting on Friday.

Executive director for performance and governance David O’Connor said: “Following the debate at full council, the recommendations of the independent panel were passed by 50 votes to 20. This is the first time allowances have been increased since 2008.

“Even though the proposals have been accepted, any member can choose to forego all or any of their allowance, if they so wish.”

He added: “All the allowances and expenses that are paid to our councillors are published on our website annually and are open to inspection by the public.”

The Independent Remuneration Panel recommended an increase in allowances in 2009. But councillors voted against the increase. Instead they set up the Councillor Big Society Fund, which has continued to this day. Every year each councillor is given £2,000 to donate to worthy causes in their ward.

The panel is required to review all councillors’ allowances every four years. The panel’s most recent report noted that even after this year’s increase, the leader’s total allowance would be less than other counties in the East Midlands and significantly less than Lincolnshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (£65,000) or a NHS Foundation Trust chairman (typically £50-60,000).

It added that the increase would better reflect the significant responsibilities involved in steering a very large and complex organisation spending hundreds of millions of pounds.

What do you think? Should councillors be given higher allowances or would the money be better spent on services in the county? Let us know in the comments below, e-mail or tweet us.