Which Liverpool City Council councillors recommended themselves a 1% pay rise?
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Constitutional Issues Committee (Liverpool City Council) 9th May 2017 Agenda Item 9 Scheme of Member Allowances 2017/18 This item starts at 17:54 in the video above.
Now the local elections are over (although thanks to the government nationally there’s also a general election), I was present yesterday afternoon for a public meeting of Liverpool City Council’s Constitutional Issues Committee.
During the election campaigns for councillors and Metro Mayor, I’m sure many people told political parties and politicians of the “big issues” that people wanted sorted out.
So councillors have listened, and in one of the first recommendations after the local elections have recommended to award themselves a pay rise.
Interestingly based on comments made by those at the meeting at Liverpool City Council at least one councillor stated she was deterred from claiming expenses because they’re worried the Liverpool Echo would criticise them for doing so.
Wirral Council councillors on the other hand, have their spokesperson Cllr Adrian Jones to state it’s not reasonable for the press and public to know what councillors claiming in expenses and these are kept a secret on the Wirral.
Of course the last Labour government made it a law that all expenses claimed by councillors had to be open to public inspection.
Moving swiftly back to Liverpool City Council councillors though. The report from the Independent Panel was a late report dated the day before the meeting, so Chris Walsh was busy handing out copies to councillors in the minutes before the meeting started.
The report encourages councillors to claim legitimate expenses, although a number of councillors pointed out that Merseytravel already provide them with free travel on public transport. Taxis had been mentioned earlier in the meeting, but in the context of criticism about Wirral registered taxis coming over to Liverpool.
So what are Liverpool’s politicians paid at the moment? Well the Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson is paid a base amount of £79,500, councillors each receive a base amount of £10,077.
Councillors also receive IT equipment (along with access to Council systems), car park passes, “Group Office Member support” (which means staff), printing, stationery, postage costs and surgery costs (up to a maximum of £330 a year).
There is a childcare allowance (only for children up to thirteen) and dependant carer’s allowance. If councillors are representing Liverpool City Council on outside bodies they’re not allowed to “double claim” from that body and Liverpool City Council.
Travel and subsistence claims can also be made, including international travel. There are a range of special responsibility allowances (which are in addition to the base amount) ranging from Deputy Mayor (£28,620) to Whip of Main Opposition Group (if that group has over 20% of the councillors) of £4,209.
Councillors on outside bodies, just to give one example Cllr Dave Hanratty as Chair of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority receives an extra ~£27k.
So back to what councillors said at the public meeting.
Firstly, the Labour Chair Cllr Alan Dean said Liverpool City councillors should be paid more because of what other councillors on Merseyside are paid.
Cllr Richard Kemp (Leader of the Liberal Democrat councillors on Liverpool City Council) said they would not oppose the pay rise.
On the subject of expenses, a councillor then said that she did not want to be mocked on the front page of the Liverpool Echo for claiming expenses.
Councillor Richard Kemp stated that he couldn’t afford the £140-£150 train fare when he went to London so claimed it on expenses, but that Liverpool City Council paid at a discounted rate due to his senior citizens card.
The Chair Cllr Alan Dean stated that politicians shouldn’t be carrying out their functions at a financial loss or gain. He referred to his public transport pass that Merseytravel issue him with. Cllr Richard Kemp confirmed he has a Merseytravel pass too.
The recommendation for a pay rise will be formally agreed at a future public meeting of all 90 Liverpool City Council councillors and the elected Mayor at Liverpool Town Hall.
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