LOCAL authority members across the island have been asked to consider an increase in their expenses.
Letters inviting members to examine whether their attendance allowance and travel expenses should increase were sent out by head of the Local Government Unit, Stephen Willoughby.
Members can presently claim £30 each for attendance per meeting, but the proposal is that this payment could increase to £78 per session to reflect the levels paid to non-Tynwald members, which serve on bodies such as the Work Permit Appeal Tribunal, Office of Fair Trading, and Education Council among others.
Mr Willoughby said of the proposed £48 hike in payment: ‘This is a significant difference.’
In fact, it’s a 160 per cent rise. The cost would have to be met by ratepayers.
In addition, Mr Willoughby has asked local authority members (also known as commissioners) to consider increasing their travel allowance to bring it in line with the rates paid to members of Tynwald. Such a rise could see commissioners claim 2p more per mile than they currently can.
The Department of Infrastructure is consulting with all 24 local authorities and has asked for their written responses to Mr Willoughby’s letter to be in by April 26.
The current rate of attendance allowance was raised by one of the local authorities and the department felt it ‘an opportune time’ to consider the current rates paid for both allowances.
The current rates have not been changed since 2006 for attendance allowance, and since 2001 for travel allowance.
Some members do not claim their allowances, or only do so in special circumstances.
The allowances are in place to compensate local authority members for the time and service that they provide for their communities through attendance at meetings of the authority and other outside bodies.
Some authorities meet once a month, but others meet twice a month, additionally members can attend committee meetings, planning appeals and functions among other appointments.
Mr Willoughby has specifically asked members to consider whether their attendance allowance should remain at the same level; be increased in line with the rate of inflation since 2006; or mirror the levels paid to non-Tynwald members (£78 per session). Also whether differing amounts should be paid for different types of meetings or whether authorities should determine their own individual level of allowances for meetings.
And whether members want to see their mileage rates remain at the same level or be increased to the same rate paid to Tynwald members.
The current travelling allowances paid to members stands at 44 pence per mile for smaller engine capacities (under 1300cc) and 50 pence per mile for those over 1300cc for the first 6,000 miles and a lower amount for those distances claimed at over 6,000 miles.
But this differs from the rates paid to Tynwald members, who can claim 46 pence per mile and 52 pence per mile.
‘Once we have gathered the results of this consultation the department will review the feedback and take further action if appropriate,’ said Mr Willoughby.
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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