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Barking and Dagenham councillors in line for rises in allowances

PUBLISHED: 13:50 18 July 2018 | UPDATED: 13:51 18 July 2018

The newly elected Labour councillors. Picture: Tom Horton

The newly elected Labour councillors. Picture: Tom Horton

Tom Horton

Barking and Dagenham Council is set to increase the amount its councillors are paid in allowances.

Following a review, it has been proposed that £149,000 more should be spent on allowances per year. As the changes would come in from July 19, this would lead to an extra £105,000 in funding for 2018/19.

This would see council leader Darren Rodwell’s allowance rise by more than £10,000, while cabinet members would see a £1,500 increase.

At an annual meeting in May, the council agreed a scheme which would see most allowances kept the same, but a further review has since been carried out which proposes rises in special responsibility allowances (paid to councillors with extra duties) and basic allowances, which are paid to all councillors.

The review argues that because of an increase in the volume and complexity of their work, councillors should receive an increase in basic allowance, from £10,006 to £11,000.

Councillors with special responsibility allowances (SRAs) include committee members, cabinet members and the leader and deputy leader. The review recommends increasing the SRA for the leader from £35,022 to £57,085, but the council propose raising it to £46,429.

Committee members would see increases due to their workloads, responsibilities and frequency of meetings. Committee chairs would see allowances go from £3,152 to £5,000, and deputy chairs from £1,571 to £2,500.

In 2015/16, the allowances budget was reduced by £100,000 to save money. With the exception of some roles, councillor allowances have not increased since 2008/09, while the workloads of councillors has increased.

Andrew Boff, a Conservative London Assembly member who stood to be a councillor in May’s local elections, said: “Barking and Dagenham Labour party complain about the lack of money they get from government but they seem to have enough to pay themselves. I think residents should remember the increase the next time the council says they can’t afford money for a youth club.”

A council spokesman said: “The pay and allowances for members was frozen for 10 years. The rises were recommended by an independent panel and the figures reflected considerable new responsibilities taken on by councillors including the leader.”

The proposed changes will be approved or rejected at a council meeting tonight.

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