COUNCILLORS in Bury could be set for a 20 per cent increase in their basic allowance – netting them an extra £1,800 per year.

If recommendations from an independent panel are adopted, the basic allowance for each of Bury’s 51 councillors would be raised from £8,947 to £10,791 per year.

The panel stated Bury Council members’ allowances scheme is ‘low paying’, and is the lowest or next to lowest in every category across all Greater Manchester councils.

Other allowance rates deemed appropriate by the panel include the special responsibility allowance (SRA) for the leader to be set at £32,733, the deputy leader £19,424, cabinet members at £14,568 and deputy cabinet members to be reset at £2,185.

On top of their basic allowance, the chairs of the six main committees would get an extra £8,093 per year.

Any adoption of the recommendations would have to gain the support of the majority of councillors at the authority’s annual general meeting.

This is set to take place after ‘all out’ elections in May 2022.

The report said that if the proposals were agreed the current budget for member allowances of £753,600 would require an increase of £111,600 to create a revised budget of £865,200, representing a 14.81 per cent increase.

The independent remuneration panel (IRP) was chaired by Dr Declan Hall who has chaired IRPs across the country.

He was assisted by two independent members, Dr Andrew Hall, managing director of Avoira Limited and a John Thompson, trade union representative and Unison branch secretary.

A council standards committee report stated: “The IRP received anecdotal evidence that the current level of allowances was acting as a barrier to the recruitment of a wide range of candidates to stand for council.

“In particular, the time required to be a member was not recompensed by the current level of allowances payable.

“While the basic allowance and SRAs were never intended to reflect the ‘market value’ of the workload and responsibilities undertaken by members, they are intended to go a large way to recognising that there is a substantial time commitment and complexity to being an elected member that is largely unrecognised in their current remuneration.

“Legislative changes have increased the demands on all members but on leading members in particular.

“The current allowances payable do not reflect the increased demands.”