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Report criticises councillors’ pay but south Warwickshire leaders say rise is unlikely

Cllr Michael Doody.

Cllr Michael Doody.

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.”

 

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