An independent remuneration panel has considered allowances and has proposed an increase in the basic allowance to be offset by reducing the numbers and amount of special responsibility allowances (SRAs) paid to senior members.
Council Leader, Councillor Roger Lawrence said, “We are grateful to the Panel for their hard work. However, while the Labour Group is supporting the reduction in SRAs, given the serious circumstances facing the Council we believe that we must reject the increase in all basic allowances and freeze these allowances at their current level of £8,980. This is despite the fact that the average allowance paid by other Black Country Councils is £10,099. The Panel’s recommendations would have saved the Council up to £50,000 per year. By contrast the freeze in basic allowances will increase this figure up to £125,000 per annum.”
Cllr Lawrence added, “This move should not be seen as undervaluing the work Councillors do but the devastating impact of government cuts mean we must demonstrate that we really are “all in this together”. I just regret that MPs and others in public leadership positions have not also chosen to set such examples.”
Cllr Lawrence is recommended to receive a reduction of around £400 less than other senior members. He has stated that if he remains leader next year he will take a voluntary reduction of £1,500 per year to make the same contribution to savings as other Cabinet Members.