Senior Sheffield councillors should get more money, says pay panel

The Leader of Sheffield Council and other senior councillors should be given an increase in their allowance, says an independent panel.

Friday, 14th May 2021, 2:03 pm

Sheffield councillors receive a basic allowance of £12,678 and this can be topped up with a special responsibility allowance if they hold a senior position.

Last year Coun Julie Dore earned an extra £15,028 on top of her basic allowance when she was Leader while Cabinet members received an extra £9,807.

But it’s significantly lower than the average paid by the other 11 Core Cites – only Newcastle Council pays less.

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The panel said the council’s financial position was “extremely challenging” but has flagged up the “significantly lower levels” of allowances for senior councillors.

A report says: “The panel was supplied with information showing the allowances paid by several other core cities and the other South Yorkshire councils.

“The special responsibility allowances are significantly lower than the average paid by core city local authorities, with only Newcastle out of the 11 paying a lower amount for those roles than in Sheffield.

“Just Newcastle and Doncaster pay a lower amount for the Leader of Opposition Groups.

“It would cost £75,000 to raise allowances in Sheffield to the average level for the posts of Leader, Deputy Leader, eight Cabinet Members and Leader of the Opposition.

“The panel highlighted this issue in 2013 and 2017 and notes the council felt it would not be appropriate to increase allowances at those times.

“This may well be the case again, and the panel remains mindful of the financial pressures being faced by the council and the political sensitivities associated with spending on members’ allowances.”

From 2017, councillors had an annual increase in line with staff pay awards, but no increase had been applied in the six years prior to 2017, including four years when council employees got a pay rise.

The panel, which includes people from the public, private, and community sectors, makes recommendations every four years but the council decides whether to act on the suggestions. The council would also need to factor in the new committee system voted for in the referendum this year.