Councillors vote in favour of increase in allowances

Lincolnshire County Council
Lincolnshire County Council

County councillors have voted in favour of a 23 per cent increase in their allowances.

At a meeting of Lincolnshire County Council today, members decided to pass recommendations from The Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP) for a series of changes to their expenses.

These included the proposal for council leader Coun Martin Hill’s special responsibility allowance to be increased from £20,448 to £32,000 – a rise of 56 per cent.

However, Coun Hill previously confirmed he will not be accepting this increase.

The basic allowance paid to all councillors now rises from £8,184 to £10,100.

David O’Connor, executive director for performance and governance at LCC, 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 IRP is required to review all councillors’ allowances every four years. The last recommended increases were not implemented, putting Lincolnshire’s allowances lower than comparable councils.

The panel’s report noted that even after the 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’.

Today’s meeting also saw the authority decide to freeze its council tax precept for 2014/15 - for a fourth consecutive year running.

LCC will now be forced to bridge a gap between funding available and council spending by the amount of £12 million. This will come from council reserves.