LOCAL politicians in Warwick district cannot expect to be paid higher allowances in the near future, according to the man who leads them.
Speaking in reaction to a recent report published by the Communities and Local Government select committee that states that low pay is deterring people who are thinking of becoming a local councillor, Conservative Warwick District Council leader Cllr Michael Doody told the Courier that he thinks the amount paid to his fellow councillors is “reasonable”, given the circumstances.
Currently councillors - who do not receive a salary - are paid on average just under £4,000 a year to compensate for the time they give to their role.
Cllr Doody said: “Warwick District Council has one of the lowest rates in the Midlands. Our councillors have not had a pay rise for the last five years.
“Our staff have not had a rise for at least three years. It would be totally unrealistic to give ourselves a rise when we are expecting our own staff not to have one.”
He added: “I don’t believe that councillors join the council for the remuneration that comes with the role because they could get a job somewhere else that pays far better.
“I believe that the figure that has been paid is reasonable and acceptable. It is low, but when you are in a recession, you don’t give yourselves a rise. That would be totally ridiculous.
“How long the recession will last, I do not know, so I am not in a position to say when we will be looking at increasing the figure. It certainly will not be until after we are in a position to give council staff a pay rise.”
Stratford District councillors are paid on average £4,500 a year, with higher rates for committee chairman, portfolio holders (those with delegated responsibilities) and the leader, who receives around £10,000 a year.
The current leader Cllr Chris Saint (Conservative) said: “The majority of people who put a lot of time into their council work don’t have time for paid employment. The principle of allowances is to compensate people. I am not sure our current allowance scheme does that.”
But he added: “If we are going to be remunerated further, it’s going to be the council taxpayer who will be paying, which is not fair. It’s not a subject we can take in isolation.”