Adur councillor allowances set to rise as panel say they are ‘underpaid’

Shoreham Centre

A rise in Adur councillor allowances will be put to the vote after a residents’ panel argued they were unfairly lagging behind their neighbours.

Worthing Borough Council members receive a basic allowance of £4,785 – more than the £4,336 collected by Adur district councillors.

But Adur councillors could be set for a boost to £4,598 as part of a gradual bid for parity.

A report to the joint governance committee on Tuesday, prepared by the independent remuneration panel, said: “The panel has noted that the basic allowance in Adur is less than its partner authority in Worthing.

“It had previously been argued that this difference was accounted for by the different sizes of the authorities, however, the panel does not agree with this view and believes that the role carried out by members is similar across both areas, this has been determined by looking at comparative data collected as part of a previous review.”

The committee was presented with two options.

Both included a rise of one per cent, in line with the nationally-agreed increase for council staff.

Option one proposed an additional increase of two per cent, while option two suggested a rise of five per cent.

Committee chairman George Barton used his casting vote to recommend option two to full council in November, following a split vote.

Labour councillor Barry Mear, one of three to vote against the five per cent rise, said: “I can understand it but I am sorry will still vote against any increase on principle.”

UKIP leader Geoff Patmore said he had sympathy with council staff who were set to receive a fixed one per cent rise.

He said opting for five per cent would ‘show up councillors’ and sided with option one.

He asked why the report referenced officer pay negotiations, as councillors received an allowance, not a salary.

A council officer said Worthing councillors, who are not due to review their allowances until 2019, previously decided to link theirs to staff rises.

Barry Hillman, one of the residents on the remuneration panel, told the committee Adur councillors received less than other neighbouring authorities.

Arun allowances stand at £5,166, Chichester £4.725 and Crawley more than £6,000, he said.

The report to the committee added: “The panel is of the opinion that Adur councillors are underpaid when compared to its partner authority to the West. “The panel, as part of its previous report, concluded that it would recommend to the council introducing parity over a period of time with the basic allowance of Worthing Borough Council.”

Click here for a report of last year’s allowance debate.

Visit www.adur-worthing.gov.uk/media/media,146020,en.pdf for a full list of the proposed sums, including special responsibility allowances.

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