The leader of Lincolnshire County Council said he will reject proposals to increase councillors’ expenses by 2.75% for 2021 next Friday.
Cllr Martin Hill said: “I don’t think we should take anything bearing in mind obviously coronavirus issues and the fact that a lot of people out there are struggling with their jobs and their businesses.”
As council leader, Cllr Martin Hill could go from being able to claim £35,026.42 to £35,989.64 next year, a difference of £963.22, but said he will reject this increase.
“I’m fairly confident that I certainly won’t be taking it. I don’t think any of our conservatives will be wanting to follow the recommendation and we’ll be looking not to take the increase […] I just don’t think it’s right at the current time,” he said.
All 69 elected councillors currently receive a basic allowance in order to carry out their specific roles.
The basic allowance for councillors currently stands at £11,055.27 but this will go to £11,359.28 if the 2.75% increase is approved next week, and if councillors decide to take it – a £304.01 increase. No other changes will be made to allowances.
However, Cllr Robert Parker, leader of Lincolnshire’s Labour party, said “I would say that we would probably be supporting it,” but understood “the timing is unfortunate”.
“This is about catching up with the allowance system which we have an annual look at.”
As leader of the opposition, Cllr Parker’s allowance would go from £9,949.73 to £10,223.34 if approved, an increase of £273.61.
The level of allowances for councillors is recommended by an Independent Renumeration Panel (IRP), made up of people from outside of the council.
In 2018, the IRP recommended that the members’ allowances scheme continues to be linked to the average percentage increase in pay for employees.
Lincolnshire County Council has to agree its members’ allowances scheme every year and 2020 is no different.