Keep your allowances the same, councillors advised

Breckland councillors will this week be urged to freeze the amount of allowances they pay themselves.

And an independent panel also wants the government to consider cutting payments if councillors fail to attend enough meetings.

The panel has studied the amount the 54 Breckland members receive for the work they do for the council and made a series of recommendations for 2011.

The proposals will be discussed by the full council on Thursday and councillors will be advised to keep their basic allowance of �5200 the same.

A report to Thursday's meeting says: 'During their meetings and deliberations, the panel has been mindful of the financial restraints affecting the council and the public sector as a whole.

'Holding the existing basic at �5200 for another year is still considered by the panel to be a reasonable recompense when compared to the basic allowance payable by other authorities in the region and the current economic climate in local government.'

Breckland is working with South Holland Council in Lincolnshire to share a joint management team and more than half of the managers' posts are set to be cut.

Most Read

The council is also be facing a big cut in the grant it receives from central government.

As well as the basic allowance, there are also a range of special responsibility payments to members for roles such as cabinet posts, committee chairmen and support members.

If the proposals are accepted, Breckland leader William Nunn will continue to be paid �20,800 and cabinet members will receive �11,050.

The panel is recommmending that deputy leader Adrian Stasiak's allowance should be raised by �2600 to �13,650 'given the additional responsibilities that the postholder has had to pick up for the past few years.'

Panel members said they were 'disappointed' with attendance levels at meetings by some Breckland councillors.

A report to Thursday's meeting says: 'It was recognised that sometimes it was difficult to attend meetings for work, family and other commitments. There were a number of members, however, whose attendance records for the past two years have been relatively low and it was felt that in these circunstances it would have been advantageous if there was a legal recourse to adjust the level of member allowances if a member did not attend a specified percentage of meetings each year.'

The panel has asked for a letter to be sent to the Department of Communities and Local Government highlighting its concerns.