Cllr Emma Apthorp became borough’s youngest ever Mayor when she was appointed
May 25, 2023
Hammersmith & Fulham Council has approved a huge 41 per cent increase in the amount its Mayor gets in allowances, documents have revealed.
It voted on Wednesday (24 May) for a £4,470 increase, bringing the yearly take-home for the role in 2023/4 to over £15,200 on top of the allowance paid to councillors.
The council said the new rate reflects the time and commitment of the Mayor and ensures the role is “inclusive and accessible” to all councillors.
The role was previously undertaken by Cllr Emma Apthorp who became the borough’s youngest ever Mayor when she was appointed.
Hammersmith Broadway councillor and lead for community inclusion Patricia Quigley waselected the new Mayor during Wednesday's annual full council meetingl.
This latest rise follows an £800 – or nine per cent – increase to councillors’ allowances that came into effect a year ago.
This increase is still below the £12,000 recommended for councillors’ allowance by the Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP), an independent body set up to provide advice on councillor pay, the council said.
The 2022 changes include an extra £2,000 for cabinet positions and a £2,896 bump in the leader Stephen Cowan’s allowances to £35,000.
His deputy, Ben Coleman, got a £2,400 increase, bringing his yearly allowance to £29,200.
The council said the increases are still 19 per cent below the IRP’s recommendations and added that allowances had been frozen since 2014.
It also said councillors are entitled to only one special allowance – known as Special Responsibility Allowances (SRAs) – even if they hold more than one role.
SRAs are paid to councillors who have added responsibilities, such as the leader of the council or a cabinet member.
In total, the increases, which includes an uptick in national insurance contributions, are will bring the total cost of allowances close to £1m, council documents showed.
The council said it had set the money aside for the increases.
A council report read, “The Council is formally required to undertake a review of its members’ allowances scheme each financial year.
“Any changes in allowances are required to take into account the recommendations of a local independent panel on remuneration for Councillors.”
It added, “Regard has been had to the recommendations in the independent remunerator’s report for differential banding in relation to the payment of special responsibility allowances (SRAs), but in line with the Administration’s priorities, it has been decided to not to follow the independent remunerator’s recommendations which would have proved considerably more costly to local council taxpayers.”
A council spokesperson said, “Our councillors have only had one increase in their allowances in the past eight years.
“It is proposed that, for 2023-24, they are paid 19 per cent below the recommended basic allowance for London to reflect the Hammersmith and Fulham’s continuing commitment to ruthless financial efficiency and to reflect the impact on residents of the cost-of-living crisis.
“Any uplift will be in line with the Independent Panel for the Remuneration of Councillors in London recommendation to increase them in line with the pay settlement for employees.
“There is no additional proposal to increase the amount paid to the Leader or Deputy Leader.
“The higher allowance for the Mayor confirms the proposal to increase the remuneration for this role to take into account both the additional time commitment and the need to ensure the role is inclusive and accessible to a wide range of councillors.
“Our special allowances are all in line with or substantially below many of those paid to others in similar positions in London boroughs.”
Adrian Zorzut - Local Democracy Reporter
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