COUNCILLOR pay is set to rise again by more than six per cent from next April, with a draft report suggesting a move to taking the basic salary of all members to £18,666 despite the increasing pressure on councils to cut services and raise council tax in a bid to balance the books.
The basic pay of a county councillor in Ceredigion, Powys and Gwynedd will rise by more than £1,000 a year from £17,600 to the new figure of £18,666 from 31 March 2024 if the recommendations of the draft annual report from the Independent Remuneration Panel of Wales (IRPW) are accepted following a consultation.
The IPRW sets councillor pay each year, and suggest the 6.04 per cent pay lift for next year on the back of a 4.76 per cent rise last year and a 17 per cent hike in salary for all councillors the year before in a bid councillor pay in line with average earnings in order to attract a wider range of candidates to fill the roles.
In Ceredigion, the council’s leader is line for a £3,398 a year pay rise, bringing the pay for the role up to £59,498 from £56,100 last year.
The council’s leader role saw a £2,550 pay rise last year.
The deputy leader pay will rise by almost £2,000 a year to £41,649, while the salary for cabinet members will increase by a shade of over £2,000 a year to £35,699.
Committee chairs will receive a boost to £27,999, while the pay for the leader of the opposition on the council will also rise to the same amount.
In Gwynedd and Powys, the leaders of those councils will get £62,998 a year as larger authorities, an increase of more than £3,500 to £59,400 a year.
Deputy leaders in Gwynedd and Powys will see a pay rise of £2,500 to £44,099 a year with cabinet members taking home £37,799.
Committee chairs and leader of the opposition will rise in line with Ceredigion to £27,999.
IRPW chairwoman Frances Duffy said: “Our goal continues to be to ensure that levels of remuneration are fair and reasonable.
Whilst the total cost of remuneration for elected members is relatively low in terms of overall budgets, the Panel were mindful of the heightened economic and fiscal strain on Principal Councils.
“In reaching our decision to continue the link between elected members remuneration and the average earnings of their constituents, the Panel remain of the view that a fair and reasonable remuneration package will continue to support elected members and not act as a barrier to participation.
“This is an important principle, underpinning our considerations on appropriate remuneration.”
The chair added that she is “also mindful of a continuing, albeit reducing, number of Community and Town councillors who decide to forego all or part of their entitlement.”
“We strongly believe that councillors should be reimbursed for some of the expenses they necessarily incur whilst carrying out their duties,” she added.
The proposals will now be consulted and before a final report is issued in February next year.