Panel reviews county council allowances

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AN independent panel tasked with reviewing Cambs County Council’s members’ allowances has made its report public.

The panel looked at the current allowances as well as various evidence from a public consultation.

The panel has made a number of recommendations which will keep allowances spend the same as this year.

The report recommends that:

• The basic members’ allowance should remain at the current level of £7610

• The current two-tier structure of allowances for cabinet Portfolio Holders be replaced by a single-tier of £11,697 (the average of the current two tiers), with no impact on overall costs.

• The allowances payable to the major opposition spokesmen be consolidated into five spokesmen and that each should receive an allowance of £6,380, with no impact on overall costs.

• A ‘one special responsibility allowance’ rule be introduced.

• The allowance paid for carers is amended so that it covers the actual costs associated with care.

• Travel expenses can be claimed for attendance at parish council meetings.

• All allowances be indexed to the annual percentage ‘cost of living’ award for local government staff at spinal column 49. The award for 2012-13 is 0 percent.

The report also indicated some areas the panel wish to address in next year’s review relating to the workload of portfolio holders, the effects of localism, the work of the fostering/adoption panels and to further simplify the scheme.

Copies of the panel’s report are available for inspection at Shire Hall, Cambridge or can be downloaded from www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk