Pay rise for Conwy councillors branded ‘poor taste’ as residents face highest council tax rise in Wales
A rise in councillors’ salaries in Conwy has been criticised in the wake of an agreed 9.9% increase in council tax.
The increases, which are set by the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales (IRPW) rather than the council, come after councillors approved Wales’ biggest council tax increase.
The proposals are detailed in the IRPW’s annual report but will have to be voted on by the council in the coming weeks.
The changes mean a basic councillor salary will rise from £16,800 a year to £17,600.
The leader of the council will be paid £59,400, rising from £56,700 last year and the deputy leader will receive £41,580, up from £39,690.
Cabinet members will be paid £35,640, going up from £34,020 last year.
Meanwhile, civic heads will also see their pay increase from £25,593 to £26,400 and the deputy civic head’s salary will be lifted from £20,540 to £21,340.
The proposed pay increases will be the same in Gwynedd, Flintshire, and Wrexham, while Denbighshire and Anglesey councils will provide a lesser uplift.
Aberconwy MS Janet Finch-Saunders said the pay rise proposals were “in poor taste” following the council setting a 9.9% council tax increase whilst cutting services’ budgets by 10%.
Only education and social services were spared the 10% cuts and told to make 5% budget reductions – with the prospect of school redundancies on the horizon.
Ms Finch-Saunders said: “I’m quite surprised to hear they are having yet another pay increase because it’s not that long ago that they had one.
“The role of council leader is a very responsible one but, given they have imposed a 9.9% council tax increase, the highest in Wales.
“It’s not going to go down too well with my constituents that councillors are then accepting the remuneration board’s recommendations. It’s not just the council leader; it’s the deputy leader.
“It’s not acceptable. They are having these frequent increases. It’s in very poor taste if councillors accept this rise.”
Cllr Chris Cater, Conwy’s cabinet member for democracy and governance, said: “Councillors will discuss the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales (IRPW) determinations at the Democratic Services Committee on 13 March.
“The council is not in a position to change the level of salaries determined by the IRPW.
“The council has to accept the determinations, but it is up to individual councillors whether they accept the full salary – this has always been the case.”
By Richard Evans – Local Democracy Reporter
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