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MEMBERS' PAY GOES UP BY 13%

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Councillors in England got a 13.23% rise in allowances last financial year, but leaders' remuneration fell 2.59%, a...
Councillors in England got a 13.23% rise in allowances last financial year, but leaders' remuneration fell 2.59%, according to LGC research.

The annual LGC members' allowances survey shows the average English member took home£3,670; Welsh members averaged£6,236. English leaders got an average£7,750 and Welsh leaders£9,438.

Local Government Association chairman Sir Jeremy Beecham said the shift in leaders' pay was surprising. He felt the trend towards using independent panels to set allowances took some of the pressure off members, but councils should stick with the allowance set once the job had been evaluated.

'The cost of local democracy is pretty minimal in terms of overall budgets. I think it's self defeating to be niggardly with allowances,' he said.

Leeds City Council's Brian Walker got£28,362 in 1997-98, making him the highest paid leader in England and Wales.

Mr Walker estimated he worked more than 60 hours a week for the council, with evenings taken up with meetings or functions, 'many of which I really don't want to go to, but the responsibility comes with the job'.

'There's no way whatsoever, hand on heart, you can do the job I'm doing and still work,' Mr Walker said.

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