Thanet councillors vote for 10% increase and index link to staff pay for their allowances

Councillor Rick Everitt says it is the first increase in a decade

Thanet councillors have voted to increase their allowance by a one-off 10% rise this year – backdated to May 4 – and  for future years to index link to staff pay so the annual increase rate is the same for both.

The  level of basic councillor allowance has been £4,570 per year – the lowest in Kent. The last increase was 4.8% in 2012/13 .

The 10% increase takes the basic allowance from £4,570 to £5,027 per year. This means an additional spend of £25,592 per year. The total cost of the basic rate for all 56 members is £281,512.

The vote also means increases to Special Responsibility Allowances (SRA’s) which are payments made to councillors with specific roles, such as Cabinet Members and Chairs and Vice-Chairs. Applying a 10% increase across all allowances and rounding them to the nearest £100 would result in additional expenditure of £11,427.

Council leader Rick Everitt requested the rises were back-dated to the beginning of the current term of office on May 4.

He also asked Democratic Services to index link an annual rise to the Members Allowances scheme so that it is the same as the increase that staff receive as their cost of living increase.

The move created some lively reactions during a council meeting last week with Cllr John Davis (Con) highlighting the rise for council bin men was 5.7%.

Thanet Conservatives leader Reece Pugh saying it was ‘regrettable’ there had been no cross party discussion as he would support the annual index link for allowance rates but would “never agree a one-off 10% increase.”

Cllr Barry Manners (Con) said “you can only spend a £1 once” and questioned whether residents would prefer it to be used cleaning up the coastline.

Cllr Bertie Braidwood (TIP) was not in favour of the rise although he said the allowance should be reviewed in the future. He added: “I am actually surprised that some people in this chamber think they do deserve a members allowance when a lot of the time they are receiving money for doing absolutely nothing.

“There are only a very small minority of people in this chamber that are probably averaging £1ph doing casework daytime, weekends and evenings.”

However, Cllr Helen Whitehead (Labour) said a rise was necessary to help the council be representative and inclusive by giving an opportunity to those with less finances or other constraints to still be able to take on the role. She highlighted how many councillors across the country were retired, male and aged over 60, adding: “We have to ensure as a council that we are representative of our population.”

Her view was echoed by councillors including Kristian Bright (Lab) and Cllr Tricia Austin (Green).

A vote approved the proposal. It will now go to the East Kent Joint Independent Remuneration Panel for  recommendations. If recommendations are made these will be considered by Council at a future meeting. If no recommendations are received from the EKJIRP, the scheme will be passed to the council’s chief financial officer to enact.

‘Obscene increase’

A statement from the Thanet Conservative Group following the meeting says: “ At full council on 12th October, the Labour Group supported and voted through a motion to increase members allowances by 10%, costing £25,000.

“The Conservative Group strongly opposed this motion. It is an obscene increase at a time when council staff have received nowhere near this increase and could have gone towards much needed Council services.

“Councillors allowances should always be at the bottom of the list when it comes to funding and it is telling that only six months into a Labour administration that they have prioritised this.

It indicates a concerning set of priorities which fail to align with the needs and expectations of Thanet residents. Thanet residents deserve better.”

‘First increase since 2012’

However, council leader Rick Everitt responded by saying: “This is the first increase in Thanet councillor allowances since 2012, so it needs to be set against 11 years of staff pay increases, not just this year’s award. Over that period prices have risen by about a third and Thanet’s basic allowance of £12.50 per day had become easily the lowest in Kent and significantly below the average in similar authorities.

“The total cost of the increase for all councillors roughly equates to the average cost of one member of staff. Nobody in their right mind becomes a councillor for the money but we do find that people are deterred by the time it takes up and the consequent loss of potential earnings.

“It is vital that the council is able to recruit from all sections of the community, not just the wealthy and retired groups, if it is to represent the district as a whole and that councillors can afford to commit the time required for ward work as well as formal meetings and responsibilities once elected.”

 

41 Comments

  1. Champagne Socialists at play again.

    To compare themselves to other local councils is misleading. Dover have 32 Councillors. Canterbury have 39. Thanet have 56. Other Council’s Councillors would have far higher caseloads as a result.

    Good old Labour. We’re all in it together eh ? And for Rick Everitt to insist it’s backdated to May is the icing on the cake. Disgraceful.

      • Not true. Canterbury for example has more houses and a higher population than Thanet and they get by fine with fewer than 40 Councillors.

    • Who would employ Mr Everitt at £18000 per year! New Labour Council and straight away money tree flowers. What with KCC Councillors with their noses in trough being paid more than my pension which I earned, unreal and a sign of things to come. Disgusting

      • KCC is Tory. Old Tory (in some cases very old)
        You can’t run a local authority for nothing. Councillors do give a huge amount of time and energy to supporting their constituents – some more than others
        It’s a system we’ve had for years and years. It works just fine.

  2. Less than 100 quid a week – and receive abuse/death threats and endless accusations of committing criminal offences – no thanks !

  3. Volunteer for public service and get paid, laughing all the way to the bank. I don’t object to expenses. However, this is extracting the urine. I couldn’t care a hoot if they’ve not had a pay increase in thirty years to be honest.

    A ruddy disgrace that the council didn’t backdate the bin worker’s pay to the new financial year, whom I might add are more deserving.

  4. Interested to know why the allowances have stayed the same for so long.
    Surely if TDC had been a well-run council for the last 10 years, these would have gone up by small increments anyway.
    If seen some of the Tory councillors swanning about in their Bentleys and BMWs so assume they’re not short of a few bob.
    Maybe they just want it to be a closed shop for their Masonic lodge and Golf Club buddies…
    Heaven forfend a young social worker becomes a councillor!

    • Of course it could be considered sensible to have successful people that have done well in life helping to steer the areas path, they are likely to have an eye for financial security and nalanced books.
      Compare that to the opposite trope , would we want people addicted to their social media feeds , cannabis and energy drinks whilst being dependent on soicety to support them as our representatives?
      There needs to be a bit of balance.
      My few interactions with councillors have been totally underwhelming, zero knowledge of major policies affecting their ward and those on the oversight and scrutiny panel similarly incapable of taking an interest in the issues before them , choosing instead to rubber stamp.

  5. People are struggling to survive with the cost of living. Your timing will only antagonise people with this move. One thing this council is good at is taking the p..s our of there residents

  6. Absolutely disgraceful, the role of Cllr should be about serving the community and ensuring the area is not mistreated by MPs and business. Considering there are few if any monthly news letters sent to the wards residents, parks have never been more littered, so what is the Cllr with that gift doing about it, there are no meetings between cllrs and residents and many of them excuse themselves from meetings what good are they?

  7. People moaning about councillors getting an allowance. People saying they should do it free of charge.

    If this was the way it would just mean that only people who can afford to be councillors, would be the well off tories. This would cut out alot of councillors who are on a small income.

  8. What a ridiculous comment . Looking back some 30 years backbench Councillors only got an allowance when they attended a meeting plus travel expenses. As far as your comment ‘only well off Tories could afford to be Councillors. I’m sure there are some well off socialists.

  9. Everett and the labour party have just made sure they will not be power at the next election. Always voted labour but these bunch of twit’s , khan and starmer have turned on the working class, happy to bleed family’s for every last penny just as the Tories.
    There is no difference between these party’s now.

    • How many Labour councillors have you actually met?
      I’ve met mine and they’re really nice. They hold a monthly ward surgery and I know for a fact, that they help a lot of local people who are having hard times.
      I don’t think I ever saw the last chap (a Tory who now represents another ward).
      For what it’s worth – I wouldn’t do that job for £10k a year let alone £5k.

      • We have Tory cllrs, and they’re nice too, also holding monthly surgeries. Niceness and hard work isn’t exclusive to the left you know…

        • I’m sure they are – but many of the comments were targeting Labour councillors.

          One thing to note though – a quick review of the TDC website will tell you that many Tory and TIG councillors barely show up for their assigned meetings.

          Thing the Tories were missing 5 at the full council last week.

  10. The bank of england inflation calculator shows that inflation from 2012 to now is 36%, so the councillors allowances still lag way behind inflation alone.

          • Hamas is irrelevant.
            For the record I am not part of the Palestine-flag waving left.
            I’m a social democrat.
            Either way though – the fact you’re happy to support a BNP-supporting councillor who, from what I hear, barely shows his face at council, speaks volumes about you.

  11. I’m still very angry with Labour with their obnoxious behaviour towards Manston Airport, however putting that to one side I agree if the allowances for councillors have not increased since 2012 then they deserve to have these increases. If the Tories don’t agree then don’t pay them.

  12. COST OFF LIVING CRISIS – TAX PAYERS PAYING MORE IN COUNCIL TAX – I LIVE IN A DUMP CALLED NEWINGTON ESTATE ROADS ARE CRUMBLING WITH POT HOLES STREETS FILLED WITH LITTER-IT STINKS THIS COUNCIL NOT WORTH A PENNY.

  13. There is no honest answer to this. They are not wages- it is far less than the National Minimum Wage.
    There is a system for claiming expenses outside of the Council area so councillors representing the Authority are not out of pocket but the current system is a mess. The good thing is that from now on any annual increase will be linked to the national pay rise for staff, removing it from the party political kick-a-bout.

    • I read your article with great interest Ian and what a load of old rubbish it is.
      Not quite sure what your agenda is but I assume your a Conservative or UKIP/TIG (or whatever the gammons call themselves these days) voter.
      I’m a Labour voter so have been quite interested in whether anything has changed since May.
      Looks to me like they have a sense of direction and are quietly going about getting stuff done.
      I get that you might want to get your dodgy protest politics in the public eye but surely someone who purports to be a journalist would do better than than making out a 0.9% increase in allowance is on a par with your lot blowing billions of public money.

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