Gloucestershire Echo

Rise Councillor­s vote in favour of six per cent pay hike

- Carmelo GARCIA Local Democracy Reporter

COUNTY councillor­s voted to give themselves a six per cent pay rise ahead of council tax bills rising by five per cent for Gloucester­shire residents this month.

Elected members at Shire Hall are set to get hundreds of pounds more each year as the basic allowance will increase from £11,395 to £12,075.

The special responsibi­lity allowance for cabinet members at Gloucester­shire County Council is also due to increase by 3.5 per cent.

But all allowance increases will be capped to a maximum increase of £1,925 each year.

Councillor­s agreed to index link the allowance increases for the next three years and they will be based on average percentage increase for council staff.

The agreed rises will see the special responsibi­lity allowance the council leader is entitled to increase to £37,467 a year.

The cap on increases makes the total allowance payable for the top democratic­ally elected job at the council £49,520 for the upcoming financial year.

Cabinet members can expect to see their pay rise to just under £21,000, meaning their total payable allowance will be £33,033.75 from April.

The chairman’s allowance is also rising from £10,140 to £10,750.

Committee chairs will be eligible for £7,140 as well as opposition group leaders with more than five members. Groups with fewer than five will be eligible for £5,710.

Opposition county councillor Joe Harris (LD, Cirenceste­r Beeches), who is also the leader of Cotswold District Council, said Conservati­ve opposition councillor­s were critical of his administra­tion in Cirenceste­r and their record on members’ allowances at a recent meeting.

He said they branded it unacceptab­le in a cost-of-living crisis and that it “sends totally the wrong signal”. He asked Tory Gloucester­shire County Council leader Mark Hawthorne (C, Quedgeley), who proposed the increases to members’ allowances at Shire Hall, what his view on this was.

However, Councillor Hawthorne sidesteppe­d the question and said he does not watch Cotswold District Council meetings.

“I have far more better things to do with my time,” he said.

“But, now that you’ve highlighte­d what was clearly a very interestin­g and entertaini­ng debate, I will go away and look at it at some point in the dim and distant future.”

His remarks were greeted with laughter across the Tory benches.

The council voted to approve the increase with the exception of Cllr Harris, who abstained.

Earlier this year, Gloucester­shire County Council approved a council tax increase of 4.99 per cent.

This means the amount a band D property pays for services provided by Shire Hall totals £1,370.50 this year.

The total bill, which includes district, police and parish services, is much higher.

In Gloucester the average bill for 2024/25 is £2,138.06.

 ?? ?? Councillor Joe Harris, also the leader of Cotswold District Council, argued that the Tory opposition in Cirenceste­r said pay rises “send the wrong signal”
Councillor Joe Harris, also the leader of Cotswold District Council, argued that the Tory opposition in Cirenceste­r said pay rises “send the wrong signal”

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