Posted: Wed 8th Mar 2023

Pay rise for Conwy councillors branded ‘poor taste’ as residents face highest council tax rise in Wales

North Wales news and information

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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