Councillors agree 
to wage increases

South Ayrshire Councillors have agreed a wage increase to come into force from the beginning of April.

That’s despite the damning report from Audit Scotland which is covered on page three of this week’s paper which criticises the council’s leadership style and accuses them of lacking strategic direction.

The increases are on the minimal side though and were agreed upon by councillors at a meeting of the full council on Thursday, February 13.

Currently a councillor’s 
basic salary is £16,396 which, under new regulations, has been payable from April 1, 2013. to March 31 this year.

As of April 1, they will now receive a basic salary of £16,560 which equates to an increase of 1% each year.

Under fire council leader Bill McIntosh will see his pay rise from £32,795 to £33,123 despite now facing calls to resign from the opposition.

At the meeting of the full council on Thursday, it was Councillor McIntosh who moved the paper for agreement which was seconded by Depute Leader of the Council and Girvan and South Carrick Councillor John McDowall.

Council Provost Helen Moonie will see her pay rise up to a maximum of £24,842 from a current level of £24,596.

The increases are in agreement with Scottish Parliament legislation which amended the remunerations given to local Government elected members which came into force on Tuesday 18 February.

South Ayrshire Council agreed on 17 May 2012 at a meeting the levels of remuneration to be paid to elected members and also agreed that the number of senior councillors would be set at 14, almost half of the 30 councillors which make up South Ayrshire Council.

At the meeting almost two years ago it was agreed that the sum payable to the provost would be £24, 353 with six senior councillors on the leadership panel receiving £21,494 with eight other senior councillors earning £19,393.

The budget total for the 14 senior councillors is currently £284,108.

In line with the new regulations senior councillors on the leadership panel will see pay of £21,709 backdated from 1 April 2013 and from that date this year they will earn £21,926.

The eight other senior councillors will enjoy a backdated payment of £19,587 before earning £19,783 from this year.

This means the total budgets for the senior councillors from April 1 2013 would be £286,949 before increasing to £289,819 this year.

Changes were also agreed upon to the local Government pension scheme by councillors.

Councillors who are members of the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) pay a contribution rate which is determined by their wage level.

From 1 April 2015, a new pension scheme will come into force and replace the existing one from that date.

As a result, all existing members currently on the LGPS scheme will become members of the new pension scheme.

One key change for councillors is that the accrual rate will move from the current rate of 1/60th of the pensionable pay to a rate of 1/49th.