Review announced into South Ribble councillors' allowances

An independent panel is being set up to decide if allowances for councillors in South Ribble should be increased.

By Brian Ellis
Friday, 16th July 2021, 12:30 pm
Updated Friday, 16th July 2021, 12:32 pm

The authority will vote on Wednesday whether four impartial business people should set the level of payments for the 50 members who give up their time to serve on the council.

It is six years since the last review in South Ribble and a new revision is due under Government rules.

Councillors currently receive a basic £4,826 with an additional £377 for travel and subsistence. But extra allowances are paid to those with special responsibility, with the leader of the council picking up an additional £15,104 and cabinet members £6,301.

Allowances paid to councillors totalled more than £350,000 last year.

The total bill adds up to £357,467 - more than double what it was back in 2014/15.

Members will be asked at the full council meeting on Wednesday to appoint Peter Hyett, David Holmes, Jeremy Hartley and Charles Hadcock to carry out the review.

Mr Hyett, a former group finance driector at the University of Central Lancashire, was on the 2015 panel.

Contemporary sculptor Charles Hadcock is a former Deputy Lieutenant of Lancashire and Honarary Colonel in the Lancashire Army Cadet Force.

As council leader, Labour's Paul Foster gets an extra £15,104 a year.

Mr Hartley is MD of the Eric Wright Group and Mr Holmes OBE is operations and technology director at BAE Systems.

A report to be presented to councillors says: "The Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP) must be comprised of at least three members who are independent of the Council. They must not have been a member or officer of the council within the last 5 years and should not be the spouse, partner or close relation or friend of a councillor or officer.

"At South Ribble Borough Council it has been customary to appoint four members. The membership is drawn from individuals involved within the local community, but not politically active within it and who can demonstrate skills such as probity, impartiality and good governance."

The panel will compare South Ribble's allowance scheme with those of other authorities and will be allowed to hear evidence from members and senior officers.

The report goes on: "All members of the council receive a basic allowance. Some members are also paid a special responsibility allowance (SRA) to recognise significant additional responsibilities.

"SRAs are paid, for example, to members of the council’s executive and to chairs of committees. Expenses for travelling, subsistence and dependants’ carers’ can also be paid to those members who incur expenditure in undertaking particular duties.

The Council may only pay allowances and expenses after first considering a report from its Independent Remuneration Panel. It is for the council to decide on the members’ allowances scheme that is put in place, having regard to the panel’s recommendations."

Back in 2014/15 the basic allowance for a South Ribble councillor was £1,523 and has risen over the past six years to £4,826. The total allowance bill in 2015 was £171,773 and is now £357,467.