Allowances paid to councillors on the town’s borough council are among the most generous in the south east of England.
Discussing a report from the Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP) at it’s cabinet meeting on Monday night councillors were told the panel recommended the current level of allowances remained in place for next year, the panel noting that: “From our assessment it would appear that the current level of basic allowance compares favourably with other local authorities similar to Hastings Borough Council (HBC) in the South East.”
Each of the 32 members of HBC is paid a basic allowance of £6,030 per year with additional amounts paid to those councillors who have special responsibilities. Council leader Peter Chowney, for example, receives a further £12,059 to perform that role.
While the independent panel has included a provision for an additional £1,000 to be added to the basic allowance between now and 2023, they stress that should only be considered if the council can afford it.
The IRP report told councillors: “The background to the current review is one of extreme financial difficulty for all local authorities, including HBC… virtually all local authorities will be facing possible cuts during the next financial year and there is likely to be a sustained period of financial constraint… .”
Conservative group leader Rob Lee pointed out that allowances paid to Hastings Borough councillors were among the highest in the south east – in the top 25 per cent of councils – a situation he said would become more difficult to justify in the future.
However, Mr Lee’s suggestion that the council might have to consider reducing allowances at some stage in the future was not warmly received, councillor Sue Beaney pointing out that any reduction in allowance mighty deter people from standing for office.
In preparing its report the IRP interviewed 15 councillors and two council officers, they also received written submissions and the results from an anonymous online survey which was completed by 23 councillors, Mr Lee old the meeting he had been one of the councillors interviewed and the panel’s questioning was “robust”.
The IRP also recommends that all travelling by councillors within the borough be covered by the basic allowance but it says that councillors should continue to be provided with a car park pass or public transport pass for use on official business within the borough.
Members of the cabinet voted unanimously to adopt the recommendations of the panel.
What are councillors costing?
Here’s a list of the allowances that will be paid to councillors with significant levels responsibilities in the coming year – in addition to the £6,030 basic allowance.
- Leader of the Council £12,059.46
- Deputy Leader with Portfolio £7,842.78
- Cabinet Members with portfolio and Chair of Charity Committee £6,511.68
- Opposition group members serving on cabinet £3,252.78
- Chair of Overview and Scrutiny Committee £3,017.16
- Vice-Chair of Overview and Scrutiny Committee £590.58
- Chair of Planning £3,619.98
- Vice Chair of Planning £1,324.98
- Chair of Licensing £982.26
- Chair of Environment and Safety £575.28
- Chair of Audit Committee £3,017.16
- Ordinary Members of Planning Committee £982.26
- Ordinary Members of Licensing Committee £104.04
- per Sub Committee membership
- Ordinary Members of Environment and Safety Committee £287.64
- Majority Group Leader £180.54 per member plus £1,291.32 (23 members)
- Majority Group Deputy Leader per Member £180.54 per member
- All Opposition group leaders per Member £180.54 per member plus £1,291.32 (7 members)
- Deputy Leader main opposition group per member £180.54 per member (7 members)
The panel also recommends that special responsibility allowances be paid to:
- Independent Members of the Standards Committee £602.82
- Independent Members of the Museums Committee £70.38