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AMA - MORE LOCAL DISCRETION FOR MEMBERS' ALLOWANCES

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The government's plan to give local authorities more freedom in how they arrange schemes for members' allowances is...
The government's plan to give local authorities more freedom in how they arrange schemes for members' allowances is welcomed in a report to next week's meeting (28 July) of the policy committee of the Association of Metropolitan Authorities.

But following consultations with member authorities the policy committee is recommended to press for even more local discretion. The report says that the amount of basic allowance should be left to local authorities, as should the rate for attendance allowance and what, if any, single member duties should have an allowance.

The AMA believes that employers should be compensated for time lost by employees away on council business. But further work is needed on how it will operate - and the Association warns the government in their report that councils do not have the resources to support the 'potentially high cost' of implementation. Additional resources should be made available in the revenue support grant settlement.

The report also recommends maintaining pressure on the DoE and the DSS to sort out the anomalies caused by treating allowances as earnings for the purposes of social security benefits. It says there should be a 'reasonable threshold level of allowances below which no deduction will be made from benefits'.
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