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CHANGES TO COUNCILLORS' ALLOWANCES SYSTEM ANNOUNCED

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Local authorities in England and Wales will have greater freedom in future to decide the level of councillors' allo...
Local authorities in England and Wales will have greater freedom in future to decide the level of councillors' allowances, local government minister David Curry announced today.

The changes will include scrapping the ceiling on what leading councillors can be paid in allowances in recognition of their special responsibilities.

Mr Curry stressed, however, that although the changes will give councils more freedom to decide how to spend money available for allowances, no additional resources will be made available.

'In the light of the comments we received during the recent consultation we will bring forward amending regulations which will give local authorities in England and Wales much greater discretion to decide how much councillors should be paid in allowances.

'The current system of allowances is too prescriptive and places an unnecessary burden on local authorities. The changes to the system we propose to make will remove that burden, and will encourage people with a wide range of skills to serve as councillors.

'The draft regulations will:

(a) remove the overall limit on what may be spent by authorities on their allowances schemes

(b) remove the requirement on local authorities to pay a special responsibility allowance or allowances and, where they decide they will pay such allowances, remove the upper limit on the level of allowances which can be paid to individual councillors;

where special responsibility allowances are paid, the requirement that at least one member of a minority group on each authority should receive a special responsibility allowance will continue

(c) require the payment of a basic allowance to all councillors - but will not specify the level of allowance to be paid

(d) permit the payment of attendance allowances and specify a range of single member duties which will be eligible for the payment of attendance allowances - these will be limited to statutory duties which councillors must perform but for which, currently, they are not able to claim attendance allowances if they perform them alone - including visits to children's homes, other social services' residential establishments and special schools

(e) require local authorities to publish details of the allowances schemes they make and to publish an annual report of the payments made to individual councillors under the scheme in order to ensure accountability.'

Local government will shortly be consulted about draft regulations which will implement the new system. The new allowances system will be in place from 1 April 1995.

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