Panel recommends Doncaster councillors vote for a pay rise in their basic allowances

Doncaster councillors and the elected mayor are set to vote on their own pay rise.

An independent panel has recommended councillors get a two per cent rise in allowances in line with a wage increase for other Doncaster Council staff

In a proposal set out by the council's Independent Remuneration Panel, it's been recommended members award themselves an allowance rise of two per cent in line with the public sector pay proposals for Doncaster Council staff at the same rate.

All elected members will vote next week on a proposed increase of the cash they get for attending meetings, ward work, and work on cabinet and committees. It includes all expenses they run-up.

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The basic allowance, which each councillor is entitled to, is set to rise from £12,363 to £12,609. Every councillor is entitled to a basic allowance and if they chair a committee or hold a cabinet position, they get that on top.

If passed, elected mayor Ros Jones would be eligible for a salary of £50,436 plus her basic allowance, up from £49,454. However, she only accepted half of her salary during 2017/2018.

Deputy mayor Coun Glyn Jones' pay goes up from £15,454 to £15,762 plus basic allowance.

The councillors who chair the planning, audit and licensing committees will receive an additional £8,070 and £7,555 respectively for those positions.

Opposition members including Coun Jane Cox, the Conservative group leader on the council, will receive an additional £1,261 because the party has between five and 14 councillors.

But Mexborough First leader Coun Andy Pickering won't be receiving any additional allowances because the party has less than four councillors.

The independent panel met with chief executive Jo Miller, Mayor Jones and five other councillors following an invitation to discuss the changes to the scheme.

Doncaster councillors who sit on the South Yorkshire Pensions Authority, which includes members from Sheffield, Rotherham and Barnsley councils, will receive an additional £3,814.

The total current budget for members’ allowances is £967,850 and is said to be sufficient to fund the proposals changes.

In a report seen by councillors, Jonathan Goodrum, senior governance officer at Doncaster Council, said: "It is important to remember that councillor allowances are not salaries, they are payments made to support councillors to carry out their roles as ward members from within their allowance.

"Members are expected to pay for all travel and parking costs within the borough and their office expenses including telephone bills, postage and internet connections. The proposed two per cent rise is in line with the public sector pay proposals for DMBC staff and falls below the current rate of inflation.

"The panel is aware that local authorities are still having to operate in times of austerity, with increasing pressures on the public purse. However, the panel were minded to make recommendations solely relating to the appropriate level of remuneration for each role/position and that any reduction or freeze in the light of the economic situation would be a matter for the council alone to determine."

Councillors are set to vote on the proposals at a full council meeting on Friday, May 18.