No rise in councillor allowances in Cambridgeshire, says panel

Cambridgeshire councillor allowances, which had been due to rise by 25%, are now set to be frozen.

Last year an expenses panel recommended a rise in allowances from £7,610 a year to £9,500.

But after protests against the plan, the county council found flaws in the way the panel had been selected.

A new independent panel has ruled that the £7,610 allowance should remain at its current level. The report is due to be debated by the council on 27 March.

The panel, chaired by David Sales, the chairman of the Institute of Directors in Cambridgeshire, also recommended:

  • The allowance paid for carers is amended so that it covers the actual costs associated with care
  • Travel expenses can be claimed for attendance at parish council meetings
  • All allowances be indexed to the annual percentage "cost of living" award for local government staff. The award for 2012-13 is 0%.

Independent report

The report also indicated some areas the panel wish to address in next year's review relating to the workload of portfolio holders, the work of the fostering/adoption panels and to further simplify the scheme.

In October the council voted to back the recommendations of an independent report which called for an increase from £7,610 a year to £9,500.

The union Unison organised a protest outside the council offices in opposition to the increase.

A council decided to set aside the original report after it "reviewed the appointments process and concluded that it was sufficiently flawed that they were unable to ratify the appointments to the independent remuneration panel".

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