Northampton borough councillors’ pay could rise after review by independent panel

A panel has been set up to review councillor's allowances at Northampton Borough Council.

A panel has been set up to review councillor's allowances at Northampton Borough Council.

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An independent panel has been set up to review whether Northampton’s borough councillors should receive more in allowances.

In 2011 the Conservative administration pledged to freeze the yearly amount councillors were paid for their duties, such as attending meetings, dealing with ward members’ concerns and promoting the areas they represent.

But with that four-year period having elapsed and with no specific manifesto pledge in place to freeze them again, they are up for review,

A memo sent out to all councillors this week shows an “independent remuneration panel” has been set up to conduct a “review of the types and amounts of allowances and expenses paid to councillors.”

This will include considering whether those who chair, or who sit on, committees should be paid more and whether allowances should be “index-linked.”

At the conclusion of its review, the panel will prepare a report making recommendations to full council.

The Conservative and Labour groups both said it was too early to comment on the matter.

However, Labour’s 2015 manifesto pledged to freeze the allowances for another four years.

The controlling Conservative group made no such pledge.

The basic councillor’s allowance currently stands at £6,692.26, while those on various committees get top-up amounts.

For example, the deputy leader receives an additional £10,226.25 and cabinet members get an added £9,374.06.

While Lib Dem group leader Councillor Sally Beardsworth says she does not feel councillors need a personal pay rise, she said her party members have more work to do because her party - second opposition group - is not allowed a political assistant at the Guildhall.

“I don’t do this for the money, I do it because I like helping the people I represent.

“But in some respects, I think we could do with some administrative help.”

The remuneration panel is set to meet on October 2 and is inviting councillors to attend and have their say.

In the meantime it has produced a questionnaire asking the elected members whether they think their pay is fair.