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New scheme of member allowances agreed by Cambridgeshire County Council

Cambridgeshire County Council has agreed proposals put forward by an independent panel for changes to its scheme of members' allowances.

The decision agreed at Tuesday's full council meeting (20), will bring a saving of more than £60k per annum.

The panel made up of local residents, business people and members of the judiciary considered the amount of basic allowance paid to every councillor – last reviewed in 2017 - and the amount paid in addition for any ‘special responsibilities’.

Liberal Democrat leader Councillor Lucy Nethsingha will be paid £42,272 a year as leader of the council.
Liberal Democrat leader Councillor Lucy Nethsingha will be paid £42,272 a year as leader of the council.

As well as agreeing the new scheme of allowances – which includes a proposal to link any future increases to the per cent annual increase agreed for staff - the full council also agreed to promote a policy for parental leave for councillors, which will now be prepared by constitution and ethics committee for full council’s agreement.

The new basic allowance paid to all county council members will be £10,568 per annum – back dated to May 10 following the most recent council elections.

This represents a small increase from the basic allowance agreed in 2017 of £10,315 per annum, because since then no indexation has been applied, but it remains lower than the national average basic allowance paid to members across the UK of £12,671 per annum.

It also agreed a number of other changes including that no more than half the council – 30 members - should be eligible for additional ‘special responsibility allowances’ (SRAs), which is paid on top of the basic allowance, for bearing significant additional responsibilities at any one time.

And that no member should receive more than one SRA even if they take on more than one of the identified offices the panel considered eligible for SRAs, which are: Leader of the council; deputy leader of the council; leader of the main opposition; leader of the minor opposition (group to have at least four councillors); policy and service committee chairs x six; policy and service committee vice chairs x six; audit and accounts committee chair; pension fund committee chair; planning committee chair; combined authority board member; combined authority overview and scrutiny committee member; combined authority audit and governance committee member.

Specific recommendation for amounts which should be paid in SRAs were also agreed, including:

The leader of the council to receive an SRA of 300 per cent of the basic allowance, £31,704.

The deputy leader receive an SRA of 65 per cent of the Leader’s Allowance, £20,608.

The leader of the main opposition should receive an allowance of 33 per cent of the leader’s allowance - £10,462 and the current qualification for this allowance to be paid only when a group has twelve seats or more was removed.

The leader of the minor opposition party and the combined authority board member should each receive a Special Responsibility Allowance of 10 per cent of the leader’s allowance, £3,170.

Full council agreed a recommendation that the chair of council receive an allowance of 33 per cent of the leader’s allowance of £10,462 and the vice chair of council receive the same allowance as the leader of the minor opposition party and combined authority board members.

And that that the policy and service committee chairs continue to receive an unchanged SRA of £18,372, and the vice chairs of the police and service committees continue to receive an SRA of £7,927 but that a review of both of these allowances will take place in 12 to 28 months time because of the changed nature of the committees.

The full schedule of amounts paid to councillors in basic allowances or for special responsibilities for 2021/2 can be seen found on the council's website.

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