Plaid Cymru councillors have called on other Wrexham councillors to refuse to take a pay rise while the local authority looks to make ‘difficult decisions’ cutting jobs and services.
Earlier this week Wrexham.com reported that members of the Democratic Services Committee would tomorrow debate proposals put forward by the Independent Renumeration Panel for Wales (IRPW) to increase councillors salary by £200.
Contrary to what some think, the pay rate of councillors is not directly set by Wrexham Council, instead it is largely taken out of their hands and dealt with via the panel – which was set up in 2008 to take such decisions from elected members.
As part of the panel’s draft Annual Report, a £200 increase for all councillors, including lead members, has been proposed.
The proposed increase would see the basic councillor salary rise from £13,400 to £13,600 – which you may or may not feel is value for money depending on how much work your councillor does!
It is also proposed that the two-tier system currently in place for senior councillors is removed, however the salary for these members would also increase by £200.
In the report due before councillors tomorrow, it is stated: “The IRPW point out in their report that when setting the basic salary in 2009 it was aligned to the medium gross earnings of all full time employees living in Wales and was payable at three-fifths of that rate.
“If the alignment had continued the basic salary would now be closer to £15,000 per annum but increases have not kept pace due to the pressures on public expenditure.
“The increase proposed equates to 1.49% and would take effect from April 2018. The IRPW considers that the increase will help to limit further erosion of relative levels of remuneration in the basic salary paid to Elected Members.”
Tomorrow members of the committee “consider the proposals in the draft Annual Report of the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales and provide any representations or comments to incorporate in the Council’s consultation response.”
This response would need to be submitted to the panel by 29th November 2017 for consideration.
However Plaid Cymru councillors have called on fellow members to object to the proposals during a time where ‘difficult decisions’ are already been made by the council.
Cllr Marc Jones, on behalf of the Plaid Cymru group of councillors on Wrexham Council, said: “Plaid Cymru’s councillors gave a pledge not to take a pay rise if elected and we as a group have stuck to that promise. We have not taken this year’s pay rise.
“We will not be taking the proposed pay rise for next year either on a voluntary basis. On top of that, we will continue to pay for our council iPads, which was also one of our election promises.
“We’re told time after time about difficult decisions to be made by the council to save money. Well, it’s time councillors made some difficult decisions about their own incomes and allowances.
“If every councillor followed our lead we could save £18,000 a year to go towards a range of frontline services that the budget proposals want to cut.
“Over time, this amounts to a substantial saving and we should be showing a lead as councillors. The idea that councillors should get any pay rise while cutting services and jobs is frankly disgusting.”
Members of the Democratic Services Committee will discuss the proposals at 4pm on Thursday 23rd November – meaning you can pop right out to the Christmas light switch on once the meeting is complete to see both the fireworks in the meeting, and then those outside.