North East Derbyshire District councillors’ allowances to increase by 4.5 per cent

A move to increase councillors’ expenses by 4.5 per cent left members divided, as some argued it was not ‘appropriate’ to do so at this time.

By Christina Massey
Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 10:40 am
The majority of North East Derbyshire District Council members voted in favour of the increase to allowances.
The majority of North East Derbyshire District Council members voted in favour of the increase to allowances.

The leaders of both the Labour and Liberal Democrat groups at North East Derbyshire District Council spoke out against the increase, which was approved by the majority of members at the meeting on April 25.

The move means councillors’ Basic Allowance will increase from £5,488.39 to £5,738.01 in 2022/23.

Meanwhile the increase in Special Responsibility Allowance (SRA) for those holding office will see the Leader’s allocation go from £18,866.58 to £19,724.66, the Deputy Leader’s from £13,557.18 to £14,173.77 and Cabinet members from £8,646.91 to £9,040.18.

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Labour’s Councillor Nigel Barker, who himself would see an SPR increase as main opposition group leader, said he could not vote in favour of it.

He commented: “That’s not to undermine the work we do as councillors in the democratic process, because I think we should be valued in this role, but at this time we don’t think it’s appropriate to be accepting this increase.”

Lib Dem leader Councillor Ross Shipman agreed, claiming Conservative leader Councillor Alex Dale had previously stated there would be no increase in allowances.

He added: “I can’t see how we can vote for this, especially after the promises that have been made by the leadership of this council.”

However, Coun Dale pointed out the increases, which were reviewed by an independent remuneration panel, had already been set prior to the Conservative administration and argued that the authority had saved money by not implementing them until now.

The 4.5 per cent rise is the combination of the previously recommended 2.75 per cent increase for 2020 and 1.75 per cent increase for 2021.

Coun Dale commented: “I have sympathy with the view of the Labour and the Lib Dem groups, I think it’s always a difficult thing to do but the whole point of having an independent remuneration package is that it’s independent of the council.

“We shouldn’t set our own wages, we shouldn’t set our own salaries and having it looked at independently is the best way to do it.

“So if we were to then turn around and reject those or amend them to something completely different that wouldn’t be independent.”