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Councillors’ salaries in Conwy has been criticised

THE RISE in councillors’ salaries in Conwy has been criticised in the wake of an agreed 9.9% increase in council tax.

The increases, which are set by the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales (IRPW) rather than the council, come as councillors approved Wales’ biggest council tax increase.

The proposals are detailed in the IRPW’s annual report but will have to be voted on by the council in the coming weeks.

Now Aberconwy MS Janet Finch-Saunders has said the pay rise is “in poor taste” following the council setting a 9.9% council tax increase whilst cutting services’ budgets by 10%.

Only education and social services were spared the 10% cuts and told to make 5% budget reductions – with the prospect of school redundancies on the horizon.

Ms Finch-Saunders said: “I’m quite surprised to hear they are having yet another pay increase because it’s not that long ago that they had one.”

“The role of council leader is a very responsible one but, given they have imposed a 9.9% council tax increase, the highest in Wales, it’s not going to go down too well with my constituents that councillors are then accepting the remuneration board’s recommendations. It’s not just the council leader; it’s the deputy leader.

“It’s not acceptable. They are having these frequent increases. It’s in very poor taste if councillors accept this rise.”

The changes mean a basic councillor salary will rise from £16,800 a year to £17,600. But the leader will be paid £59,400, rising from £56,700 last year and £49,974 in 2022/21, meaning the position has enjoyed a £9,426 pay rise in the space of two years.

The deputy leader will also receive £41,580, a rise from £39,690. The position was paid £35,320 in 2022/21. Cabinet members will be paid £35,640, rising from £34,020. Cabinet members were paid £30,773 in 2021/22.

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Civic heads will also see their pay increase from £25,593 to £26,400.

The deputy civic head’s salary will increase from £20,540 to £21,340.

This proposed pay increase will be the same in Gwynedd, Flintshire, and Wrexham.

Denbighshire and Anglesey councils will also increase councillors’ pay but by a lesser amount.

Cllr Chris Cater, Conwy’s cabinet member for democracy and governance, said: “Councillors will discuss the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales (IRPW) determinations at the Democratic Services Committee on 13 March.

“The council is not in a position to change the level of salaries determined by the IRPW.

“The council has to accept the determinations, but it is up to individual councillors whether they accept the full salary – this has always been the case.”

For a full list of proposed councillor pay rises in every county, visit here: https://www.gov.wales/independent-remuneration-panel-wales-annual-report-2023-2024-html