The Head of Legal, Democratic and Property Services presented the Independent Remuneration Panel’s (IRP’s) report concerning Members’ allowances for the 2023/24 financial year.
The Executive Committee was informed that the IRP comprised a membership of independent persons who lived in Worcestershire. The IRP made recommendations about Members’ allowances for most Councils in the county. Whilst the Council was not obliged to approve the IRP’s proposals, Members needed to have due regard to the IRP’s recommendations.
The IRP was proposing that the basic allowance for Members should be increased by 7.37 per cent, which would increase the basic allowance from £4,732 to £5,081. The IRP had also made proposals regarding the Special Responsibility Allowances (SRAs) that could be paid to Members for holding specific posts at the Council. Members were asked to note that the IRP did not suggest paying multiple SRAs to individual Members which was an arrangement that was currently in place in Redditch. Should Members approve the IRP’s recommendation in respect of SRAs in this report, this would result in a saving to the Council.
Members discussed the proposals detailed in the IRP’s report and in doing so commented that it would be inappropriate to increase Members’ allowances by 7.37 per cent during a cost of living crisis. However, it was suggested that the Council should not postpone increases to Members’ allowances indefinitely, as this would place the level of remuneration available to Redditch Members behind that available at other local authorities in Worcestershire. Members would have an opportunity to consider this further at a later date when preparing for the 2024/25 financial year. There was general consensus that, as no changes were proposed by the IRP in respect of travel allowances, subsistence expenses and carer’s allowances, the recommendations on these subjects should be supported.
1) travel allowances for 2023-24 continue to be paid in accordance with the HMRC mileage allowance;
2) subsistence allowances for 2023-24 remain unchanged;
3) the Dependent Carer’s Allowance remains unchanged; and
4) for the Parish Council in the Borough,if travel and subsistence is paid, that it is paid in accordance with the rates paid bythe Borough Council and in accordance with the relevant Regulations.