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Caithness News Bulletins March 2006

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Remuneration Committee Report 27 January 2006

Councillors  Expenses 2004/05

EXECUTIVE RESPONDS TO SCOTTISH LOCAL AUTHORITIES
REMUNERATION COMMITTEE REPORT

The Executive will reform the obscure and outdated system of allowances for councillors to reform local democracy, Tom McCabe said today.

The Minister for Finance and Public Service Reform was speaking as he responded to the report by the Scottish Local Authorities Remuneration Committee. The Executive has accepted the vast majority of the the recommendations, including the new salary for basic councillors of 15,452 and a mandatory role description and personal development plan.

But the initial SLARC proposals will be adjusted:

  • The salary for Leaders will be reduced by approximately 5000 - this will have a knock-on effect on how salaries for senior councillors are calculated;
  •  The severance scheme will be adjusted to provide a simple scheme with three levels of payment linked to length of service. The maximum payment available will be cut to 20,000.
  • Councillors remaining after the 2007 election will be able to backdate their pension to 1995 if their council opts into that facility.
  • Special provision will be made for Civic Heads to recognise the unique and important role they play in Scottish local government.

Tom McCabe said: "The system of remuneration for councillors is crying out for reform. The current arrangement are obscure and outdated - and that is exactly why we are committed to modernising the whole system.

"I would like to thank SLARC Chairman Ian Livingtone and his team once again for all their hard work. The Executive has considered their recommendations and accepted almost all of them.

"We have, however, said all along that we would have to consider the affordability and public acceptability of the proposals. That is why we are reducing the salary for Leaders which will have an impact on the salary for senior councillors - and reducing the top payment under the severance package.

"We do still recognise that councillors should be properly remunerated for the work they do, while ensuring it is transparent to the people we all serve. These adjustments will cost around 750,000 less than the original SLARC proposals, while still delivering on our aim of reforming councillors allowances and renewing local democracy."