Home   News   Article

Independent panel recommends rises in allowances and electric car mileage for all 50 East Herts district councillors

East Herts Council has approved an independent panel’s recommendation that all 50 members’ basic allowances rise 4.6%.

From the start of the new financial year next April, the yearly allowance will rise by £250 from the current £5,428.79 to £5,678.79 – or £109.21 a week. This will cost the council a total of £12,500 in 2023-24.

There will also be 20% rises in carer and childcare allowances for councillors and a 1,025% hike in the mileage rate for electric cars.

Clockwise from top left, Conservative group leader Bob Deering, Labour's leader llr David Jacobs, Lib Dem leader and deputy council leader Mione Goldspink and Green Party leader and council leader Cllr Ben Crystall
Clockwise from top left, Conservative group leader Bob Deering, Labour's leader llr David Jacobs, Lib Dem leader and deputy council leader Mione Goldspink and Green Party leader and council leader Cllr Ben Crystall

The carer’s allowance will go up £5 an hour, from £25 to £30, and the childcare allowance by £2.50 an hour, from £12.50 to £15. The new electric car mileage rate – up from 4p a mile to 45p – is in line with HMRC (His Majesty’s Revenue & Customs) allowances.

The remuneration panel recommended no change in the enhanced payments given to the council’s leader, deputy leader and their seven cabinet colleagues, the chairs of committees, the vice-chair of the development management committee and the leaders of minority political parties.

The leader, the Green Party’s Cllr Ben Crystall, is entitled to £19,767. His deputy, Liberal Democrat Cllr Mione Goldspink, can claim £12,225.96. Their fellow executive members – Greens Carl Brittain (financial sustainability), Alex Daar (communities), Vicky Glover-Ward (planning and growth), Sarah Hopewell (wellbeing) and Tim Hoskin (environmental sustainability) and Lib Dems Joseph Dumont (corporate services) and Chris Wilson (resident engagement) – get a £9,780.96 allowance.

East Herts Council
East Herts Council

The chair of the development management committee, currently Cllr Yvonne Estop (Labour), is entitled to £7,336 and her deputy, Cllr Steven Watson (Green), receives £2,200.

The allowance for licensing committee chair Cllr Maura Connolly (Green) is £6,051 while £4,842 goes to the human resources committee chair, Cllr Rachel Carter (Green).

Reflecting the heavier workload faced by the chairs of the overview & scrutiny and audit & governance committees, Conservative Cllr David Andrews and Lib Dem Cllr Martin Adams receive £6,464.04 and £6,646.04 respectively.

The minority parties’ leaders can claim 0.1% of the basic allowance multiplied by the number of members in their group. Cllr David Jacobs is currently in charge of five Labour members, which means he can claim £283.94, while Cllr Bob Deering heads a 16-strong Conservative group so can claim £908.61.

Cllr Yvonne Estop is chair of the council's development management committee and the allowance of £7,336 reflects the hefty workload
Cllr Yvonne Estop is chair of the council's development management committee and the allowance of £7,336 reflects the hefty workload

The independent scrutineers compiled their report after hearing evidence from Cllr Goldspink – who is also the executive member for neighbourhoods – Labour group member Cllr Carolyn Redfern, Conservative group member Cllr Peter Boylan and Cllr Brittain.

They also anonymously surveyed all councillors, asking them if they believed the allowances needed to increase and about particular costs they faced.

One member told them: “Claiming expenses is a nightmare. Systems are inadequate for councillors’ purposes.”

Another said: “I end up paying for childcare for my daughter, which I don't claim back. There have been a number of times when I have had to put my daughter in childcare so I can make up hours in my main job that I have lost due to council meetings which have taken place during the day. I don't believe I can claim these hours.”

Others told the panel they should be able to claim back the cost of buying land title documents, travel expenses for ward business and an allowance to cover the £24 cost of attending a Bishop’s Stortford Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting.

One who wanted more recompense said: “[The] attitude of the public is changing and more hostile to members, especially on social media.”

But another councillor said: “As councillors, it is a privilege to serve the residents on behalf of East Herts Council and money, in a cost-of-living crisis, is not important.”

Last year (2022-23), a total of £412,915.50 was paid out to members, comprising £271,047.84 in basic allowances, £131,564.81 for special responsibilities, £7,950 civic allowance and £2,352.85 for travel and subsistence claims.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More