News council-pay-increases

Last week Wrexham.com reported on proposals to increase the pay of Wrexham’s Councillors, we enquired who would be donating the difference.

We emailed all 52 Councillors on Wednesday afternoon after the Executive Board agenda went live, the delay was due to an embargo that was in place when it comes to contacting Councillors for comment before meeting reports go live.

If the report is passed by the Executive Board tomorrow, the Council Leader will see their pay increase from £47,500 to £48,000, the Council Deputy Leader will see an increase from £33,460 to £35,000 and those on the Executive Board will get a pay increase from £28,780 to £29,000.

Along with this those who are Chairs of Committees see their pay increase from £21,375 to £22,000, the Mayor will see their pay go from £21,500 to £21,375 and Councillors themselves will see their pay increase by a further £175 to £13,300 a year.

However the Deputy Mayor is the only figure who faces a pay cut, from £16,625 to £16,000.

The email we sent out reads as follows:  “With a report due to go before the Executive Board on Tuesday regarding pay increase for Councillors we were hoping you can provide some feedback for an article we are publishing.

We have been told that some Councillors have and will accept the pay rise however donate the difference to good causes.

Are you able to say if you:
– Donated the pay rise last year.
– Intend to donate the pay rise this year.

Or if you are accepting the pay rise, or are donating it, and wish to add comment to why you have decided to do so, or decided to support a specific cause, then please let us know and we will try to include as many comments as we can.

We did initially intend on publishing the results yesterday, however due to a few last-minute replies, we held off publishing until today.

Out of the 52 Councillors that received the email, only 13 replied although one reply covered a further 23 of a single political grouping. These were: Council Leader Neil Rogers, Cllr Bernie McCann, Cllr Arfon Jones, Cllr John Pritchard, Cllr Andrew Bailey, Cllr Phil Wynn, Cllr David A. Bithell, Cllr Derek Wright, Cllr Hugh Jones, Cllr Paul Rogers, Cllr Geoff Lowe, John Phillips and Cllr Andy Williams.

Of the 13 Councillors that replied, 11 of them said that they have donated the money to charity in the past and will continue to do so this year.

With regard to the 23 further Labour Councillors, the reply from Cllr Rogers stated that: “I can confirm that each and every member of the Labour Group, donated all the increase which they received to several charities within the Wrexham County area.

“I would expect my colleagues within my group to continue to support and not to take the allowance and donate to local registered charities again.”

The full list of Labour Councillors can be found on the Council website here.

Cllr Hugh Jones neither confirmed nor denied if he would be taking in the increase in pay, but stated that he makes a ‘reasonable donation to charity’. His full response can be found below.

Cllr Jones said: “Can you clarify what you mean by “pay rise”. If you mean a change of role from that of a back bench Councillor to a full-time Lead Member role then there is a change in the level of renumeration. As of course there is any similar move from part to full-time working. You also need to take account of the fact that as a Lead Member I am no longer able to pursue my private business interests.

“I do not complain about that, it is a fact of life it is my choice but leaves me substantially out-of-pocket. In answer to your question yes I do make what I consider to be a reasonable donation to charity. However the amount is a private matter.”

Cllr Wynn said he would be taking the increase in pay (which would be an increase of £175 to £13,300 a year) adding: “As for the previous pay-award I received I can confirm I am using this as my working salary and as such I have not donated this to any cause.

“For the record I was made redundant back in April 2012 and since being re-elected in May 2012 I have carried out my role as a County Councillor more or less as a full-time commitment. I am of working age being paid at a rate not much above the minimum wage level so I believe I am good value for money. I accept you and others may argue otherwise.”

The remaining 11 Councillors who replied stated that they will be donating the pay increase to local causes or charities and that they have donated their pay increases in the past to charities or local cause.

Amongst those who replied was John Phillips, who said: “I did donate last year to charity’s, subject to the Executive board decision I will consider donating again this year.”

Cllr Paul Rogers replied: “Since I have been local member for Brymbo I have supported a range of community groups within my ward making regular donations to various community groups and projects in my ward and wider Wrexham area. This includes donations for events, fundraising activities and individual sponsorship. This is something I will continue to do from my salary in future.”

Speaking about the proposed increase, Cllr Arfon Jones said: “Yes, I have donated more than the net increase I had in my allowance this year and there is still Children In Need to go before the end of the financial year.”

Cllr Jones added: “I really don’t see why we MUST take an increase, but on the other hand I would sooner take it and donate it than put it back into the council pot to be wasted, at least by donating it goes to a good cause.”

You can read the full report for Tuesday’s Executive Board meeting here.