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Pay rise for Torbay councillors

Sunday, 25 February 2024 16:32

By Guy Henderson, local democracy reporter

Torquay Harbour (image courtesy: Radio Exe)

Four per cent increase follows independent review

Torbay’s councillors have voted themselves a pay rise.

An independent panel came up with a list of recommendations for increases in the allowances paid to councillors for doing their jobs. They don’t get salaries for their work.

Allowances will increase by just under four per cent, lifting the basic rate for a ‘backbench’ councillor to £9,794.

Members with specific jobs are entitled to special responsibility allowances (SRA) on top of this, with the figures worked out on a sliding scale. The ‘pay’ is intended to make it financially viable for working-age people to serve on councils.

It means council leader David Thomas (Con, Preston) is entitled to his £9,794 basic rate, plus an SRA of £24,485, making a total of £34,279 a year. At the other end of the scale, the chair of a council sub-committee receives an SRA of £686 on top of the basic allowance, making a total of £10,480.

Cllr Alan Tyerman (Con, Churston with Galmpton) said many other councils had a basic rate of around £15,000. “Torbay councillors are doing essentially the same job for less than £10,000,” he said. “We are still way beneath what many other councils get.”

And Independent group leader Darren Cowell (Shiphay) told the full council meeting: “Historically we have had low allowances. It is important that we ensure that people who wish to become councillors are not disenfranchised.

“I think we get democracy on the cheap in this country. We don’t like paying for our elected officials.”

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