Council cash row

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A councillor in Pollokshields has called for more cash for himself and his colleagues.

Tory David Meikle welcomed a report commissioned by the Scottish government into remuneration which recommends an increase to councillor’s basic salary by 16.5%.

This comes just more than a month since Glasgow city council outlined a two year pay freeze for all staff.

Mr Meikle said: “People in Glasgow demand a high level of activity from their councillor but it is only right that we receive a proper salary to allow us to do this.

“Many councillors find it difficult to cope because it is a full time job”.

The base salary for a councillor in Glasgow is £12,231.13.

Green councillor for Southside Central Danny Alderslowe strongly opposes any wage rise.

He told The Extra: “I receive £250 for an average of 55 hours per week. With two young children and a partner who works part-time we manage to have a good quality of life”.

However, GCC have been accused of “undermining the Scotland-wide remuneration scheme” by the Scottish local authorities remuneration committee.

Within the council, 40 of the 79 councillors make £261, 491 of extra income between them working for an arms length organisation.

Known as ALEOs, these bodies such as city markets, city building and city parking, are created or funded by council.

Langside’s James Dornan (SNP) said: “Councillors performing duties on ALEOs that they would previously have erformed as councillors should not be receiving extra remuneration — there is no benefit to the taxpayer”.

In East Renfrewshire, where the base salary is £16,234, any proposal to increase councillor’s pay is roundly dismissed.

Labour councillor Alan Lafferty told The Extra: “It would be absolutely wrong to implement a rise for councillors when councils are asking for pay restraint ”.

Provost Alex Mackie, a Liberal Democrat, echoed Mr Lafferty’s sentiment.

He said: “With unpalatable decisions being taken at the present time we should simply be thankful for what we get paid already and leave taking decisions on this for another time.

“But we do need to find a way to attract more people with fresh ideas and experience”.

Conservative Jim Swift believes councillors should “not be paid a penny”.

“Wouldn’t we prefer to get people who actually have something to contribute from their life-skills and are happy to contribute for the benefit of our local communities for free.

“If people are doing it for the money, what calibre of person do you get for £16K”?

A Scottish government spokesman said: “We will carefully consider all of the recommendations as it moves forward on these issues.

“Of course, that will be in the context of the financial constraints we face across the public sector in Scotland as a result of substantial cuts in our budget from Westminster”.

The proposal will be submitted Holyrood for debate.