Changes to Hartlepool councillors’ allowances would cost £250,000 a year

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IF changes to councillors’ allowances were to be agreed the total cost to taxpayers by 2015 has been estimated at an extra £250,000 a year.

It would appear the changes are unlikely to be passed by members in the council chamber but they are being recommended to.

The recommendation comes on the back of a review by the Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP).

The level of the Basic and special responsibility allowances had been frozen from April 2009 to March 2013 in line with the pay freeze for Local Government employees.

But the report from the IRP recommends that the Basic Allowance payable from April 1, 2013, should be increased by £250 from £5,767 to £6,017, with further annual increases of £250 in April 2014 and April 2015.

That means, if agreed, the backdated calculations would see councillors paid £6,017 payable from April 1, 2013, a £250 hike for the following year and then a jump to £6,517 payable from April 1 next year.

The IRP has also made recommendations in relation to the Special Responsibility Allowances paid by the council and recommended that these should be linked to the recommended basic allowance, meaning a further hike for those councillors with added responsibilities such as chairs of committees.

The report includes details of allowances paid to councillors in neighbouring local authorities, and the average worked out between the 11 councils stands at £8,965.

The total cost of the changes by 2015 has been estimated at an addition £250,000 per year.

A report added: “If the recommendations are approved there will be a budget pressure in 2014-15 of £13,000 and in 2015-16 of £18,000 against the forecast budget for Members Allowances.

“This potential pressure would reverse part of the permanent saving of £129,000 included in the base budget from the review of allowances completed in 2013-14.”