Political row erupts over local councillor’s pay

A political row over councillors’ pay has erupted following a report by MPs that claims low pay is deterring many from taking up the role.

The Local Government Select Committee report said councillors had a right to expect an “appropriate level of compensation” and that councils should be able to use an independent local body to set pay.

Councillors in Barking and Dagenham currently receive an annual allowance of around £10,000, on which they pay tax, and typically supplement their income with another job.

Cllr for Barking, Darren Rodwell, said: “I think it’s only right and proper if you want to get professional people that there should be money that is paid because there is only so much that you can do for free.”

Criticism of the report came from Tory chairman Grant Shapps who said Labour was pushing for higher pay because its councillors donated some of their allowance to the party.

Cllr Rodwell said a proportion of his allowance is donated to the Labour party but mostly spent on promoting local campaigns and events and added there had been a pay freeze for the last four years.

He said a balance had to be struck on pay, adding: “You don’t want career people, you want people with conviction. You’re not doing it for the money but you have got to have the money to assist you to do it.

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“I don’t do it as a career, I do it because of my conviction.”