Colwyn Bay...Just A Reminder “Obscene” 16.9% councillor pay rise to cost Conwy Council £146,000!

As long as I'm all right mate! So as Rome burns the council looks after their own pockets, but the tax paying public struggles to stay afloat and is the council services provided worth it? I know my answer!

Conwy councilors will receive a collective £146,000 pay rise – with the leader alone enjoying an extra £6,700 a year.

The democratic services committee voted in favor of a council report, detailing the increases that come into effect on May 9 after local government elections.

The increases are set by the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales (IRPW), not the council itself.

But whilst the IRPW set the amount that can’t be altered, councilors did have some control over paying top-ups for ‘civic salaries’ for some additional roles.

Consequently, the chairs of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Planning Committee, Governance and Audit Committee, General/Statutory Licensing

Committee, and Democratic Services Committee all received a rise after councilors voted in favor of the increase.

Councilors can refuse an increase on an individual basis.

The changes mean a basic councilor's salary will rise from £14,368 to £16,800 a year, but the leader will be paid £56,700 a year, rising from the old amount of £49,974 – an increase of £6,726.
The deputy leader will also receive £39,690, rising from £35,320, an increase of £4,370.

Cabinet members will be paid £34,020, rising from £30,773, an increase of £3,247, and committee chairs will receive £25,593 – rising from £23,161, an increase of £2,432.

Civic Head heads will also see their pay increase from £23,161 to £25,593, and the deputy Civic Head’s salary will increase from £18,108 to £20,540.

Cllr Chris Cater proposed councilors vote in favor of the report, and Cllr Sue Shotter seconded it.

Seven councilors voted in favor; Councillors Phillip Evans and Sue Shotter abstained, and Cllr Harry Saville voted against the proposals.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Harry Saville slammed the pay rise.
“This planned 16.9% pay rise for councilors is obscene, especially as most people are having to get to grips with the economic fallout of COVID-19 and the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” he said.
“It’s astonishing that the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales – the Welsh Government quango which sets councilors’ pay – should think that this kind of pay rise is appropriate.”

He added: “One aspect of councilors’ pay that individual local authorities can control is whether to award increased ‘Senior Salaries’ to committee chairs.  I’ve previously recommended that the council cut these senior salaries to reduce the financial burden on local taxpayers.”
Councilor salaries don’t include the amounts members are able to claim back for travel costs – such as rail, air, or taxi journeys – overnight stays, and ‘sustenance’.

The IRPW says the increase would rectify the imbalance between the basic councilor salaries and the average salaries of constituents.

The matter was discussed at an earlier meeting in November, in which councilors compared their 16.9% pay rise to the 1.75% offered to council staff. Councilors expressed concern about public perception, with some describing the increase as ‘inappropriate’, especially after the COVID pandemic.

By Richard Evans – Local Democracy Reporter

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