By Jamie Shapiro, Local Democracy Reporter
Southampton City Council councillors have turned down their own ‘pay rise’, saying that receiving one in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis “would not be right”.
Councillors (not including the leader or the deputy leader) are said to work an average of 27 hours a week, and are paid allowances rather than salaries which are are supposed to match the national living wage, which has recently increased.
If they had accepted the suggestion, put forward by the council’s Remuneration Panel, of an increase of allowances of just under £1,404 a year, it would have put most councillors’ pay up from £13,900 to £15,304.
The move would have cost the council an extra £165,000 a year, including the allowances of three new councillors due to be joining in May 2023.
The panel said: “Remuneration should not be an incentive for service as a councillor. Nor should lack of remuneration be a barrier. The basic allowance should encourage people from a wide range of backgrounds and with a wide range of skills to serve as local councillors. Those who participate in and contribute to the democratic process should not suffer unreasonable financial disadvantage as a result of doing so.”
Council leader Cllr Kaur (Lab) said: “In a normal world, people don’t get to vote on their own salaries.
“In the current financial difficulties, we feel it would not be right to accept the recommended increases in this report.”
Cllr Dan Fitzhenry (Con), leader of the opposition group, echoed this saying: “We don’t believe now is the time members should be receiving a pay increase.”
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