Report of the Assistant Director of Governance and Monitoring Officer.
The report of the Assistant Director of Governance and Monitoring Officer set out the recommendations of the recent Independent Review Panel (IRP) on the Council’s Members Allowance Scheme. The report explained that the Scheme provided for an annual increase in Allowances, based on the yearly pay award to employees. However, Council was reminded that as part of the current pay award employee pay had increased by a flat rate of £1925 rather than by a percentage figure. Consequently, it had been necessary for the Panel to recommend to Council how its Allowances should now be increased.
Members discussed the Independent Review Panel recommendations. As part of this Councillor A Dale as Leader of the Conservative Group indicated that his Members would have a free vote on whether or not to accept the Panel’s recommendations. In this context, he had agreed to move a Motion to support the recommendations, so that Council could decide if it wished to accept the proposed increase. The Leader of the Council made clear that he would vote against the increase. He explained his reasons for this and in particular, highlighted the financial challenges facing the Council and the District.
Councillor N Barker as Leader of the Labour Group also recognised the difficulty of the decision and indicated that this Group would have a free vote on the recommendations. He made clear that he would support the recommendations and would vote for them because it was important to respect the independence of the Panel.
Councillors R Hall, M E Thacker MBE JP and J Kenyon argued that the Council ought to respect the independence of the Review Panel and accept its recommendations, as it had done on previous occasions. They noted that the proposed increases to Members’ Allowances had been bench marked against other local authorities and would help to ensure that the District’s Councillors received fair and appropriate allowances.
Councillors D Hancock, R Shipman and D Ruff spoke against the recommendations. They felt that the proposed increase would be inappropriate, given the Cost of Living Crisis facing many people in the District and the financial pressures facing the Council.
At the conclusion of the discussion Councillor A Dale and Councillor C Cupit moved and seconded a motion to approve the Independent Review Panel’s recommendations, as set out in the report. The motion was put to the vote, which was taken as a recorded vote. The motion was approved.
Councillors P Wheelhouse, R Welton, M Thacker MBE JP, K Tait, L Stone, B Strafford-Stephenson, K Rouse, M Roe, C Renwick, A Powell, M Potts, A Platts, S Pickering, G Morley, H Liggett, B Lewis, P R Kerry, J Kenyon, M Jones, L Hartshorne, R Hall, O Gomez Reaney, K Gillott, J Funnell, M Foster, A Foster, M Emmens, P Elliott, D Drabble, L Deighton, S Cornwell, A Cooper, J Birkin, N Barker, W Armitage
Councillors P Wright, P Windley, R Shipman, D Ruff, D Hancock, M Emmens, A Dale, C Cupit, S Clough, J Barry, P Antcliff
Councillors J Lilley and T Lacey
Council accepted the recommendations of the Independent Review Panel on the Members Allowance Scheme. That following on from this: