Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Bid to increase councillor special responsibility allowances defeated

Cornwall Council has again rejected a proposal to increase pay for three Conservative cabinet support members. The rejection was made by 57 votes to 45 at today's full council meeting.

The debate was meant to be about setting in train the process for agreeing allowances for the new councillors elected in 2013. The authority has consistently agreed by large majorities that they don't want to consider an increase mid-term and Lib Dems stood on a manifesto commitment of not raising allowances during this council. But it is right that the process of agreeing allowances for the four years from 2013 should be started.

However, as I blogged before, there was an extra clause asking for a quickie review of all allowances - particularly special responsibility allowances. The Leader was quite open about the reason for this - that he thought there should be an increase in the money paid to the three Conservatives who act as Cabinet Support Members.

The council as a whole (with a large number of rebelling Tories) agreed that any money for the CSMs should be considered as part of the overall review to be implemented in 2013 and not before.

The other interesting debate was over a Lib Dem proposal to ask the independent remuneration committee to seek to recommend and allowances scheme which would help to promote a more even balance of councillors. At present Cornwall Council is only 28% female and massively biased towards those of retirement age or older. I understand there are just eleven under the age of 45. Many of the administration front bench voted against the proposal to try to promote a better balance.

(Disclosure - I currently hold the post of chair of the Council's Electoral Review Panel. This role does not carry a special responsibility allowance.)

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