Member allowances announced for new Buckinghamshire Council
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Sarah Ashmead, Deputy Chief Executive for the new council and currently the Executive Director of Resources on Bucks County Council, presented the proposals, saying: “As required we established an independent renumaretion panel (IRP) who did some research and came up with some recommendations. We've considered those and produced a proposed scheme of allowances.”
The basic allowance for a member of the new Buckinghamshire Council is proposed to be £13,000 per annum.
Also under the proposals, the leader of the council will receive an additional £45,000 per annum with Cabinet members receiving an additional £23,000.
Currently, a Bucks county councillor receives an allowance of £11,998 per annum and an Aylesbury Vale District Councillor receives £5,700 per annum.
Since 34 of the 49 current county councillors are also on their respective district councils, the proposals represent a significant decrease in allowances for many.
District and County Councillor Steven Lambert said: “It's a lot of work being a councillor. What a lot of people don't realise is that you have to take time off work to do this and so what you are going to end up with is ladies what lunch and gentlemen what golf. This is a £1.2 billion organisation responsible for health, wellbeing and economic strategy for 570,000 people. Giving someone £13,000 a year and saying it's something you can do as a part-time job doesn't really do it justice.”
The new unitary council will consist of 147 members, reducing the number of councillors from 236 currently elected across the five existing councils of South Bucks, Chilterns, Wycombe, Aylesbury Vale and Bucks County Council.
It is thus anticipated that while the basic allowance rate will marginally increase under the new proposals, the overall claims will represent a cost saving each year.
The five existing councils will cease to exist on the 31 March 2020 with the new council going live on 1 April.
Elections for the new Buckinghamshire Council will take place in May 2020, May 2025 and then every four years. Town and parish elections will coincide.