A Flintshire councillor will receive a 132 per cent increase in his party leadership allowance under new proposals.
Cllr Mike Peers, leader of the Independent Alliance group on Flintshire Council, would see an increase of almost £5,000 to the £3,3745 allowance he currently receives as leader of the main opposition party under the plans drawn up by the Remuneration Panel for Wales (IRPW).
Extra allowances for opposition party leaders were removed by the council after the 2012 elections, but were later reinstated by the IRPW, an independent body scrutinising councillors pay in Wales.
Now in the IRP W’s latest draft report, leaders of main opposition parties in county councils across Wales would see the increase of extra responsibility allowance rise from £3,745 to £8,700 for 2014-15. The allowance comes on top of a basic councillors’ allowance of £13,300, which includes a less than one per cent increase for the first time in four years.
The IPRW argue the payment would be “important for local democracy”.
Flintshire Council’s constitution committee will meet to discuss the draft report today and can submit their views as part of a consultation period which ends next month.
Cllr Peers said he was glad the decision on members’ payments were no longer made by councillors.
“Being independent, the IRPW can look across the whole 22 councils in Wales and bring some consistency to it.
“They’re standing back, looking on from outside whereas we’re a bit focused on day-to-day issues.
“When it used to come to council to decide on rises to councillor allowances, we’d say it didn’t feel right.
“Now the public can know it’s done independently and county councillors aren’t involved.”
Committee member Cllr Tony Sharps said he expected the proposals to be accepted.
The independent councillor for Northop Hall said: “I think it’s a fair report. It’s all agreed nationally and I feel the committee will accept the report.
“It’s a controversial issue. That’s why it’s gone to an independent body and it should be accepted.
“Whatever councillors get, it’ll always be controversial. But some work very hard and they deserve every penny they get.”
Peter Evans, Flintshire Council’s democracy and governance manager, said: “As a result of holding certain posts and having special responsibilities, some councillors are paid extra.
“In May 2012 the IRPW limited such posts to a maximum of 25 per cent of the membership when it had previously been 50 per cent.
“This led to council deciding no extra payment would be made to the leader of the largest opposition group in 2012-13 along with other posts that had received a payment for special responsibilities.”