Councillors set for pay hike

Newly-elected councillors on Scottish Borders Council are in line for a salary hike.

By Paul Kelly
Friday, 20th May 2022, 11:27 am
Scottish Borders Council's Newtown St Boswells headquarters. Photo: Bill McBurnie.
Scottish Borders Council's Newtown St Boswells headquarters. Photo: Bill McBurnie.

When members of the full council meet via video-link on Thursday, May 26, they will be recommended to rubber-stamp amendments to the current scheme of remuneration for elected members.

The move comes three weeks after 34 councillors were returned at the local elections.

Back in April 2020, in accordance with the Local Governance (Scotland) Act, the annual amount payable to each councillor rose from £17,470 to £17,854 per year.

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Now the full council is being asked to endorse a new set of increased payments “in recognition of the significance of the duties they have to fulfil”.

Under the recommendations, each of the 34 councillors would receive £19,571 per annum, unless they are entitled to higher amounts payable to the leader, the convener and 13 ‘senior councillors’, who hold roles of special responsibility.

The total allowed budget for senior councillors is limited by regulation to £342,524.

The new leader of the council, Scottish Conservative Councillor Euan Jardine, would receive £39,148 for his role under the new proposals and the new convener, Independent Councillor Watson McAteer, would be entitled to £29,361 per annum.

The previous payments for those roles were £35,713 for the leader and £26,785 for the convener.

None of the remuneration figures include employer National Insurance and pension contributions, which are payable by the council.

A report from David Robertson, the council’s director of finance and corporate governance, says: “Remuneration of members is recognition of the significance of the duties they have to fulfil, and is also designed to remove the financial obstacles that might otherwise deter people from seeking election.

“It is open to any councillors to refuse all or part of the amounts otherwise paid under the regulations.”

Those councillors with special responsibilities would receive amounts between £25,531 to £28,000, dependent on their roles, if the remuneration recommendations are agreed.

Members at next week’s meeting will also consider the appointment of the council’s depute leader.

Members of the public can watch the meeting via a live stream on the council’s website – https:www.scotborders.gov.uk – from 10am on Thursday.