Local councillors have agreed to accept a 'pay rise' that will see their annual basic allowance rise by almost £300
06 Sept 2018 7:23 PM
DERRY councillors have accepted the recommendations of a report that will see their annual basic allowance rise by almost £300. The move came at Tuesday afternoon’s meeting of Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Governance and Strategic Planning Committee, held in the Guildhall on Tuesday afternoon. At the meeting, the council’s Lead Democratic Services and Improvement Officer, Ellen Cavanagh presented a report which recommended members approve an updated Scheme of Allowances. Local councillors can currently claim a basic allowance of £14,775 plus expenses. Under the new recommendations the annual basic allowance will increase to £15,071 from April 2019. An allowance of £30,113 is currently paid to the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, while an allowance of £7,528 is paid to the Deputy Mayor. The basic allowance for incidental and consumable costs will increase from £1,040 this year to £1,061 next year. Councillors who chair a committee are currently paid a special responsibility allowance of £8,376.02, which will increase to £8543.58 next year. The vice chair of each committee is currently paid a special responsibility allowance £3,225 and this will also increase to £3,290.07. An additional allowance of up to £15 per month is paid for broadband services and line rental and mileage is paid at between 13.7p and 16.4p a mile, depending on the engine size of the car. An additional dependants' carer's allowance is also available to councillors where care of children or elderly dependant relatives is needed to enable them to carry out council duties. The current rate is £7.83 an hour for standard care and £15.66 an hour for specialised care. The monthly maximum for standard care payable is £408, and the monthly maximum for specialised care is £815. Speaking after Ms Cavanagh presented her report, the independent Councillor Paul Gallagher asked “Are we voting to give ourselves a pay rise?” The committee agreed to change the wording from approving the updated scheme of allowances to adopting the recommendations of the report. The recommendation to accept the report was proposed by Sinn Fein councillor Maoliosa McHugh and seconded by DUP Alderman Thomas Kerrigan.
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