Cambridgeshire

Public advise Cambridgeshire councillors on allowances

Members of the public in Cambridgeshire are being asked to help decide "how much their county councillor is worth".

They will form a new independent panel to advise on councillor's allowances.

Applicants for the Independent Remuneration Panel must have no connection to the council and will be expected to serve for five years.

In October, a 25% allowance increase was rejected after the county council's standards committee said the selection of previous panel members was "flawed".

The independent report presented to the committee by the previous panel called for an increase in allowances from an average of £7,610 per year to £9,500.

At the time, a spokesman said the 25% rise would "bring Cambridgeshire County Council's allowances more in line with those paid by other county councils".

'Human error'

The council is legally obliged to look regularly at councillors' allowances, although the spokesman said it was asking the government for this responsibility to be taken out of the hands of local authorities.

He added: "In looking at Cambridgeshire's allowances there were mistakes made in the way the independent panel was appointed.

"The chief executive has apologised for this.

"The mistakes were purely human error and the standards committee agreed they had not been properly consulted and a new process should be carried out."

The new panel's members will advise on the amounts councillors can claim for travel, subsistence, basic allowances and "special responsibility" allowances.

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