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Ceredigion Mid Wales Politics

Councillor pay rises ‘not going to look well in the press’

CEREDIGION councillor pay rises of nearly five per cent are “not going to look well” in the press, members of the county council heard at their April meeting.

Ceredigion councillors’ pay is to rise by £800 a year, bringing their basic salary up to £17,600, set by the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales rather than the county council itself.

More senior members of the council also see pay rises; the leader getting a £2,550 a year pay rise, up to £56,100; the deputy leader receiving £39,270, with the six cabinet members receiving £33,660 each.

The eight committee chairs will be paid £26,400, the leader of the opposition also receiving the same amount.

The council chair also gets a £26,400 salary, the vice-chair £21,340.

This means the 19 roles total a bill of £582,670 a year.

For the 19 basic salary councillors, the bill totals £334,400; all adding up to £917,070 a year for the 38 members.

Plaid Cymru group leader Cllr Bryan Davies

Discussing the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales’ Annual Report at the April 20 meeting of the council, Leader Bryan Davies said: “Which ever spin we put on this paper it’s not going to look good in the press; we don’t make the decision on our salaries, I think that would be a very difficult thing for us to justify and vote on.

“The power is out of our hands, in the hands of this independent panel.”

He said the rises “wouldn’t go down well in the press,” but added there was a need to encourage new councillors: “If we can’t give them an allowance, what hope do we have for a wide range of people standing to be councillors?

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“We have to think outside the box and attract a wide range of people to be councillors; at the end of the day, we are judged if people don’t stand to be councillors.”

Aberaeron and Aberarth councillor Elizabeth Evans. Picture: Ceredigion County Council

Chair of Democratic Services, Cllr Elizabeth Evans said: “It is what it is, we have very little say in that.

“My personal point of view is they may well put up our salaries but there is little recognition we do more than three days a week, more like 24 hours, seven days a week.

“I’m not sure how anyone can keep a full-time job and sit in this council chamber, there really does need to be a recognition of the work we do.”

Councillor Gareth Davies said the increase were “not going to go down very well” in a year that has seen council tax in the county increase by 7.3 per cent, but pointed out members’ salaries amounted to less than half a per cent of the council’s overall bills.

Members agreed to note the report and approve a string of related conditions.