A county councillor said a 7.9 per cent pay rise over seven years “summed up how they value my services” after it emerged MPs and MS’s had received much bigger increases.
The comment came during a meeting of the democratic services committee meeting held by Conwy county council.
In reality it was merely rubber-stamping a £350-a-year (2.5 per cent) rise introduced in April this year by the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales.
Yet it emerged during the discussion that MPs and AMs had received massively greater increments than councillors over the past seven years.
While councillors saw their basic salary increase by 7.9 per cent over the period, MPs salaries increased by 20.8 per cent and MS salaries jumped by more than a quarter (25.6 per cent).
Cllr Nigel Smith (Towyn) said: “It sums up how they value my services when you see MS’s having 25 per cent more and MPs getting 20 per cent.
“I don’t think councillors are being remunerated to the value they bring to their residents.
“In saying that we don’t do it for the money.”
However Llanrwst councillor Aaron Wynne was unhappy about receiving any rise at all in the face of public sector pay freezes.
He said: “Why should Councillors enjoy a pay–rise when the rest of the public sector has a pay-cap?
“The economic fallout that will ensue from the Coronavirus pandemic will be devastating with thousands set to lose their jobs.
“This is not the time to reward ourselves with a pay rise.
“Since joining Conwy council in 2017 I have refused the pay increase, except for last year, when I accepted the payrise in order to donate it to Llanrwst United Football Club, after they suffered extensive damage from flooding.”
While individual members can opt to forego the increase, the allowances are set by the panel and independent of the council, which cannot refuse, vary or alter the decision.
It means the basic annual salary for councillors rose by £350 to £14,218 per annum – an increase of 2.5 per cent.
Cllr Harry Saville (Llandudno Gogarth) also rejected the idea of an increase in the basic allowance for councillors.
Cllr Saville, also deputy mayor of Llandudno, asked for his vote against the rise to be placed on the record.
Senior salaries were not increased but all members, including leader Sam Rowlands, his deputy and all committee chairs receive the £350 rise to the basic element of their salaries.
It means the 2020-2021 rates of pay for Conwy’s county councillors are:
All members: £14,218
Deputy Leader: £34,950
Cabinet Member: £30,450
Committee Chair/Opposition Leader: £22,918
Group Leader: £17,918
Civic Leader (chair of council): £22,918