No pay rise for elected politicians

Wigan Town Hall
Wigan Town Hall

Elected politicians in the borough won’t get a pay rise this year, the town hall has ruled.

Pay structures for elected members have come under the spotlight in recent weeks after a leading pressure group criticised councils who have issued a rise.

But the borough’s 75 representatives for 2016/17 will not receive any more than their counterparts in this current financial year.

Wigan’s allowances were frozen between 2012 and 2014 but increased around three per cent from £11,682 to £12,059 for

2014/15.

A spokesman for the town hall confirmed to the Observer the basic allowance will be capped at the £12k

mark.

The allowances and expenses total for the entire council chamber increased from £1,118,060 to £1,157,948 last year.

Last week the Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA) criticised local authorities for imposing above inflation increases while making cutbacks in services due to dwindling government grants.

Chief executive Jonathan Isaby said: “Taxpayers will be shocked to discover the rate at which councillors’ allowances have risen over the last three years, despite local authorities pleading poverty and in many cases raising council tax or cutting services.”

Opposition members have repeated calls in recent years to reduce the number of councillors in Wigan borough by a third claiming a move to two members per ward would make substantial savings for the cash-strapped council.

But leader Lord Smith (right) has always maintained that three to each ward is the correct number given the amount of case-work each ward member carries out.

The TPA report also reveals that Lord Smith’s leader allowance increased from £35,050 to £36,179 last year.

Cabinet members – not including the leader and deputy leader – also receive extra payments on top of their basic allowance, as do the chairs of council committees and members chosen to sit on outside bodies such as Transport for Greater Manchester or the emergency service authorities.