Sunderland councillors to vote on proposed 2% rise in allowances
A proposed pay rise for Sunderland city councillors is set to be put to the vote next year after an independent panel recommended an increase.
The proposals have come from Sunderland’s ‘IndependentRemuneration Panel’ (IRP), which makes suggestions for how much councillors receive in allowances and expenses.
Sunderland City Council is required to renew the members’ allowances scheme for each financial year and to consider the independent panel’s recommendations.
The latest IRP report recommends a 2% increase for the current basic allowance that councillors receive every year.
If approved in future, it would mean the annual basic allowance from April 2022 would increase from £8,369 to £8,536.
The IRP report is included on the agenda for the next meeting of Sunderland City Council’s cabinet, which is scheduled for January 11 2022.
At the meeting, city leaders will be asked to consider the report and to make “appropriate recommendations” to full council in respect of members’ allowances.
A final vote on levels of councillors’ allowances for 2022/23 will take place at a full council meeting later in 2022, with every elected member asked to vote on the proposals.
According to a cabinet report, the additional cost in 2022/2023 of £12,554, if the IRP recommendations are approved, would be “met from contingencies and included within the council’s revenue budget for 2022/2023.”
Back at a full council meeting in January 2021, city councillors rejected a recommendation to increase basic allowance to £9,420 for 2021/22.
As a result, the level of basic allowance has remained at the same level since 2012.
The new IRP report for 2022/23 states several other authorities in the region apply an annual uplift to their members allowances’ schemes linked with public sector pay awards for council staff.
It adds that the panel is “minded to recommend an uplift to the basic award for 2022/2023 on this basis.”
The IRP report reads: “The panel is supportive of the principle of linking the basic allowance with any award in respect of staff pay during the previous financial year.
“As previously, the panel recommends that this be based on the main pay award used for council staff, excluding any separate pay award increases that are given to specific groups, for example lower paid staff or chief officers.”
It goes on to say: “The panel noted that the NJC pay award for 2021/22 has not yet been confirmed, with the current offer by employers of 1.75% not having been accepted by Trades Unions.
“In order to make its recommendation for the year, the panel has considered the assumption included in the council’s medium term financial plan, which is 2% for staff pay awards.
“The panel therefore recommends that the basic allowance for 2022/2023 be increased to £8,536 for the financial year 2022/2023 and that the special responsibility allowances remain unchanged.”
The cabinet and IRP report can be found on Sunderland City Council’s website.