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Increase to help attract future councillors

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Increase to help attract future councillors

An independent recommendation to increase councillors' allowances has been accepted.

The Independent Renumeration Panel, which recommends the level of allowances paid to councillors across Worcestershire, proposed the basic allowance paid to councillors on Malvern Hills District Council was increased from £4,437 to £4,650.

This recommendation was accepted at a meeting on Tuesday (20 July). It is hoped the move will help encourage a wider range of people to become councillors.

The figure takes into account the 2020 pay increase for local government workers, the average wage level in Worcestershire and the rate of allowance paid by neighbouring councils. A 40% discount has been applied to reflect that councillors are volunteers.

Increases have also been approved for specific roles including the Leader of the Council, whose allowance increases from £13,311 to £13,950 and Portfolio Holders, with responsibilities for specific areas, they will now get £6,975 a year.

The total amount spent on councillor allowances works out at about £3 per person living in the district.

Last year councillors rejected the proposed increase due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic but this time a majority of councillors felt it was important allowances were not allowed to fall too far behind.

Cllr Sarah Rouse, Leader of Malvern Hills District Council, said: "We know increasing councillors' allowances is never popular. But during the Covid-19 pandemic I know how hard councillors have worked within their communities and how much time it takes to do this role properly.

"We cannot have a situation where the role of a councillor is only something that can be done by the rich or the retired. If we want our councillors to truly represent the communities they serve then we need to attract people from all walks of life and backgrounds. This will lead to better policy making.

"But we can only do that if they have the financial means to carry on paying the bills so they can dedicate the time to carrying out this hugely important role of representing the voices of over 70,000 residents."