POLITICIANS in Flintshire face an individual choice over whether to accept a pay rise put forward by an outside body, according to a senior councillor.

The Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales has determined that basic salaries should be increased across the whole country by more than £260 and by £800 for cabinet members.

Councillors in Flintshire voiced their opposition to the proposals when they were first outlined in a consultation last year.

However, a report which is set to go before full council next week says the authority is duty bound to apply the decision.

According to deputy council leader Bernie Attridge (Lab), members are able to voluntarily opt out later by writing to the democratic services manager.

He said: “It was taken out of councillors’ hands by this body, like it does with Welsh Government and Parliament where they oversee it and they come up with what they believe councillors should get.

“When it came before councillors for the consultation, because of austerity we as a council objected to it.

“The consultation went through and they’ve ruled on £800 for senior members and giving the reasons for it.

“At the end of the day, councillors can say how much that equates to per year for them and they can donate it to anyone.

“It’s up to the individual members if they keep it or give it away.”

One senior politician in Flintshire temporarily closed her Twitter account this week after becoming involved in a row over pay and council tax increases.

Cabinet member for social services Christine Jones said she took the decision to deactivate her social media profile after being subjected to ‘vile’ comments, before later reopening it.

It occured the day after most councillors voted through an 8.75 per cent rise for residents.

She was criticised after describing one user who asked whether the approved budget was linked to the pay increase as ‘silly’.

According to next week’s report, the extra amount determined by the independent panel has been budgeted for.

Cllr Jones (Lab) has now said she will be writing to the proper officer in order to forgo the rise and that she had done so in previous years.

She said: “Every year we’ve rejected it and we’ve never accepted a pay rise.

“We have to accept it initially because it’s a determination that’s been put from the Independent Remuneration for Wales, but as individual councillors we can write to our finance department to say that you don’t want it.

“When it first came to council, we said we weren’t happy with having a pay rise because of being in such a financial state at the moment.

“We were all interviewed as senior members by the panel and everyone in that room said no, but they said to us that we didn’t have a choice.”

The pay report will be discussed at a meeting on Thursday, February 28, where councillors will be asked to note the panel’s decision on their salaries for 2019/20.

A further report will then be made to the June meeting, once all appointments to senior salary posts have been made.