Councillors face allowances cuts

Chorley Town Hall, St Thomas Road
Chorley Town Hall, St Thomas Road

Councillors are set to have their allowances slashed in Chorley.

Recommendations put forward by an Independent Remuneration Panel will see some special responsibility allowances, for councillors who take on extra duties, halved.

However, leader of the opposition, Coun Alistair Bradley from the Labour Party claims the cuts don’t go far enough.

He said: “The basic allowances that all councillors receive will remain the same at £4,242 a year. As a group we had called for the allowances to be reduced by five per cent as part of our budget proposals last year, as the figure is a lot higher than that paid to our counterparts at neighbouring South Ribble.

“We had also asked for the amounts that cabinet members receive to be significantly reduced and had made representations to the administration, but they were not accepted.”

Leaders of small political groups, described as those with between two and five members, will see their special responsibility allowance reduced from £1,848 a year to £924.

The vice chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, a group which performs a watchdog role on the work of the authority, will also see their allowance slashed from £2,594 to £1,414.

Group secretaries, who could once collect up to £1,600 for their duties, will have their extra money completely stopped.

However, many councillors won’t be affected by the changes that are due to come in to affect in May. The leader of the council, Coun Peter Goldsworthy will still collect an additional £12,800 for his extra workload, with the leader of the opposition being paid £6,500.

Meanwhile, cabinet members will earn more than £8,000 a year and all councillors will continue to be provided with a laptop computer, printer, broadband connection and telephone line.

Figures for 2010/11 show that the council paid out £285,000 in allowances to its members.

Coun Goldsworthy said: “The remuneration panel is an independent body and we have listened to their recommendations and accepted them.

“The allowances are reviewed every four years and the panel decides how much should be paid to the councillors. The allowances are well earned and well justified.”

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Chorley, Coun Ken Ball added: “Many councillors actually end up out of pocket, but they don’t take on the roles for financial gain, but to represent their areas.

“The special responsibility allowances reflect the extra work that the councillors have to do and the payments are set by the independent panel.”

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