Scandal-hit Rotherham Council prepares to cut allowances for councillors

Riverside House, headquarter of Rotherham Council
Riverside House, headquarter of Rotherham Council
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Rotherham Council is set to cut allowances paid to councillors in the wake of the child sexual exploitation scandal which has seen Government-appointed commissioners take over the local authority.

The move, designed to save almost £100,000 and bring allowances closer to those provided by other South Yorkshire councils, is set to be approved at a full council meeting on Friday.

In February, the Labour-run Cabinet resigned after civil servant Louise Casey ruled the authority was still ‘in denial’ about child grooming and not fit for purpose.

Her report resulted in a team of commissioners being brought in to run the authority – for up to four years.

Plans to cut the amount spent on members’ allowances have been put forward by an independent remuneration panel.

The panel was made up of Vicar of Rotherham Reverend David Bliss, Andrew Deniff, from Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce and Stuart Walls, a trustee of Voluntary Action Rotherham, as its members.

Their proposals include cutting the amount spent each year from the current £1,118,174 to £1,022,833.

The basic allowance for councillors will be cut from £12,130 to the South Yorkshire average of £11,605.

The council leader’s special responsibility allowance, which at £32,170 per year is the highest in South Yorkshire, will be cut to £26,152.

The panel’s report said: “Consideration was given to the present special responsibility allowance for the leader of the council as being £32,170 and noted that when compared to the South Yorkshire average this was the highest amount paid.

“The panel recognised the importance of the role, but believed Rotherham had to demonstrate to the public its commitment to getting the council back on track and suggested the allowance should be marginally higher than Barnsley.

“The panel, therefore, suggested that the allowance for the leader be averaged and the figure should reflect the average plus an additional £1,000.

“The figure of £26,152, the panel believed, reflected the importance of the role in Rotherham, but compared favourably with South Yorkshire neighbouring authorities.”

Cabinet members’ allowances cut from £16,083 to £13,076, while the mayor’s £10,647 annual allowance is being frozen.