Should the top Special Responsibility Allowances be changed?

We have had the debate and counter debate on Councillors allowances and a debate will be had on the Special Responsibility Allowances (SRA) for the next full meeting of the council on the 16th April. This is being done because the model of governance at Cornwall Council is changing to a modified cabinet system.

The basic Councillor allowance (wage in reality) is set at £12,250. Just to dispel (again) the myths this allowance is taxed, and apart from mileage, there are no other day-to-day expenses.

Currently, the top SRA’s are for the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council, Chairman of the Council and Cabinet Members. The current rates per year and are paid on top of the basic allowance:

  • Leader of the Council – £22,532.53
  • Deputy Leader of the Council – £18,025.95
  • Chairman of the Council – £16,700.51
  • Cabinet Member – £16,700.51

Now the question is should these be reduced, or even raised? Yes, yes I know a few people would have choked on the word raised. But to be fair, you have to ask that question to give balance to the debate. Though it is unlikely a raise would be supported after the allowance debate.

My view is they should be reduced. Might as well clear that point up at the beginning. The Leader’s SRA losing £10,000 and the Deputy Leader, Chairman of the Council and Cabinet Member seeing a reduction to £10,000 per year. That is still a very liveable wage and is in line with the average wage in Cornwall once you combine the SRA and basic allowance.

But before the debate happens at full council, it would be good to hear your views. I have also worked out how to do Polls on the blog, so this question will be the first Poll I do.

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  • Gill Martin

    I believe allowances should additionally be variable according to meeting attendance rates. Why should two Councillors claim the same allowance when hypothetically one attends virtually no relevant meetings and another attends nearly all relevant meetings that are expected of them.

  • Chris Smith

    Once again I’m completely with you Gill, why should some Cllrs be paid to stay at home or alternatively use time they should be at Committee meetings and attending to Council work out earning cash elsewhere when others are working hard doing the job they were voted in to do? If they cannot attend County Hall because they are on Council business elsewhere that’s fair enough but it needs to be identified. On the subject of pay, I think they should be paid the going rate for being effectively Directors of a business with a £1.3bn turnover which lacks any of the normal workplace safeguards every other employee has against “unfair dismissal”, harrassment or insults. Pay peanuts, get monkees.

  • Chris

    It could be viewed as you voted for and defended the planned rise in Cllrs allowances that this is a case of sour grapes.

  • Gill Martin

    Or it could be that Councillor Andrew Wallis wanted peoples views on special responsibility allowances for future reference. How can anyone have a case of sour grapes when the allowance increases had they gone ahead, would not have been until after the election and no councillor had any guarantee of being re elected.

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