Havering councillors to vote on plan to raise their own basic allowances for first time in 12 years

Havering Town Hall

Havering Town Hall - Credit: Archant

Havering’s councillors are to vote next week on proposals to increase their basic allowances for the first time in 12 years – a move that would, if approved, see the borough’s wage bill for elected members rise to almost £1million.

A report will go before members at the borough's full council meeting on Wednesday, February 26, recommending the basic allowance - remuneration for public service that all councillors are entitled to receive - rise to £10,412.

The council's basic allowance rate has been fixed at £10,208 since 2008, and a council report on the matter states that since then three successive reports from the London Council's Independent Review Panel have recommended basic allowances higher than Havering's.

With that in mind, officers are proposing a 2pc rise, although they do point out this is still below the £11,045 recommended by the London Council's independent experts.

The special responsibility allowances (SRAs) paid to elected councillors who are more heavily involved in the running of the council - either by being chairing or vice-chairing committees, being mayor or deputy mayor or leading any of the council's political groups - is also recommended to increase 2pc by council officers.

Havering Council's Conservative administration is also proposing a range of increases to allowances, alongside those put forward by non-political council officers.

These include increasing the SRAs for leaders of opposition groups, on an opt-in basis, from £7,803 to £14,706 for the leader of the largest opposition party and from £2,040 to £4,080 for all other opposition group leaders.

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The SRAs for the leader and deputy of the council, and cabinet members will only increase by the 2pc recommended by council officers.

The officers' report to members goes on to say: "Adoption of the Administration's proposals will increase the overall costs of the scheme by £24,906 to £998,666.

"Should there be any significant fluctuation in the occupancy of positions which give rise to an increase in costs this will be raised through the appropriate channels."

The new members' allowance scheme would take effect from April 1 and would run until March 31 2021, when the council is required by law to publish a new one.

Any councillor can chose not to take up any part of their allowance by writing to the borough's chief financial officer.