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Wolverhampton councillors remain the region's lowest paid

By Peter Madeley | Wolverhampton | News | Published:

Wolverhampton councillors will remain the lowest paid in the Black Country despite being in line for a small pay rise for the second consecutive year.

Wolverhampton Civic Centre

The authority's 60 elected members were each paid an allowance of £9,161 in 2017/18, up one per cent from £9,069.96 the previous year.

Last month an Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP) ruled that in every year up until 2021/22, the basic allowance would change in line with any percentage increase in pay agreed for council workers.

Although the 2018/19 allowance is yet to be determined, the National Employers, which negotiate pay on behalf of council staff, has proposed an increase of two per cent.

Other payments for Wolverhampton councillors, including 'special responsibility' allowances for cabinet members, and allowances for travel and carers, will remain at their current levels.

Basic allowances in the city were frozen at £8,979.96 for six years, before rising to £9,069.96 in 2016/17.

The authority's Labour leader, Councillor Roger Lawrence, took home £32,935.44 in that year, including a special responsibilities allowance of £23,499.96. The total bill for all councillors was £908,647.

The IRP's report said it believed that the level of the current basic allowance 'remains reasonable' and 'compares appropriately to local average pay levels'.

Councillor Andrew Johnson, Wolverhampton council's cabinet member for resources, said: "Keeping the basic allowance at the same level over the period seemed the right thing to do during the austerity crisis we faced at the time."

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He added that councillors' allowances were 'tied in' with pay rates for council staff.

Councillor Wendy Thompson, the Conservative group leader, said: "I would like to think that in general, Wolverhampton residents would feel they are getting value for money from their councillors.

"Taxpayers deserve the very best. However, there is certainly scope for revisiting the amount in allowances that councillors receive in the future, particularly when you consider the figures received by councillors on other nearby councils."

The scheme has now been rubber-stamped by city councillors, meaning that they will stay as the lowest paid elected members of all the Black Country authorities.

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Councillors in Sandwell get £10,620 a year – 16 per cent more than their counterparts in Wolverhampton.

In Dudley councillors are paid £9,211, following a decision to reduce allowances by five per cent last year.

Meanwhile, Walsall councillors receive £10,926.96.

Peter Madeley

By Peter Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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