Council leader and deputy leader’s allowances set to rise

Parkside Chart Way Horsham - Horsham District Council and West Sussex County Council SUS-150723-162029001
Parkside Chart Way Horsham - Horsham District Council and West Sussex County Council SUS-150723-162029001

Allowances paid to councillors are set to rise with several roles at Horsham District Council receiving significant increases.

A 2.2 per cent increase for all councillors’ allowances was agreed from the start of 2015, and now the Independent Remuneration Panel has carried out a review of the scheme and its report is set to be presented to Full Council tonight (Wednesday September 9).

It suggests several roles at the council start to receive a Special Responsibility Allowance (SRA), while also recommending rises for the leader and other committee chairmen and vice chairmen.

According to council figures the total amount of allowances paid to councillors was £311,800 in 2013/14, equating to £7,086 per member.

Under the report’s recommendations the deputy leader, currently Jonathan Chowen, would receive a new SRA of £1,500 on top of his basic allowance and £6,669 SRA for being a cabinet member, while the vice chairman of the council would also receive a new SRA of £1,620.

The chairmen of both the Business and Improvement Working Group and Finance and Performance Working Group, would both receive an SRA totalling £2,313.

As part of the changes leader of the council Ray Dawe would receive the basic allowance of £4,768 and £12,000 for being the leader, up by £1,228.

The leader of the opposition Group, currently Lib Dem David Skipp, will receive an extra £91 a year in SRA, rising to £4,000.

The vice chairman of the Scrutiny and Overview Committee’s SRA will increase by £616 a year, while the chairmen of both the Accounts, Audit and Governance Committee, and the Personnel Committee will receive an extra £1,501.

The only position to lose out is the chairman of the Licensing Committee whose pay will decrease from £3,654 to £2,313 due to a light workload.

Councillors can also claim for travel and subsistence, but the IRP said that it saw ‘no reason’ why their mileage rates should be more than the HMRC approved 45p per mile, and recommended the current level be reduced.

According to the panel’s report the 2.2 per cent increase was in line with a pay award given to HDC’s staff.

The panel met 11 times, sent out questionnaires to all councillors, and interviewed a range of councillors and officers. Of the 44 councillors, 23 replied to the survey.

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