Reading councillors have approved recommendations for their allowances this year, which will see the 46 councillors pick up more than £500,000 in total.

Councillors agreed with an independent panel’s recommendations that the council’s representative on the Fostering Panel should get an extra £1,074 per year allowance but members of the Planning and Licensing committees should not.

Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) Independent Remuneration Panel said the “great deal of time and effort” required for the Fostering Panel position justified an extra allowance but it did not consider the Licensing and Planning committee duties sufficiently demanding to warrant extra pay.

READ MORE: Request for Reading councillors to get extra pay rejected by independent panel

Members also approved the panel’s recommendation that a second fostering panel member should be appointed and an additional Licensing vice-chair to help share the workload.

Councillor Deborah Edwards has been the Fostering Panel member since 2007.

She said: “I am absolutely delighted that the panel decided we would need another councillor to sit on the Fostering Panel. This is a really important role.”

Reading Borough Council offices

Reading Borough Council offices

The councillor said she would be happy to mentor any councillor who puts themselves forward for the role.

Cllr Edwards is chair of the Licensing committee and so will not get any extra allowances as a councillor can only receive one special responsibility allowance.

Councillors will be paid a basic allowance of £8,447.08 in 2021/22.

READ MORE: Three Reading councillors to resign – including 30-year veteran – as by-election triggered

This is a 2.75 per cent increase in line with Local Government Pay Settlement recommendations.

For special responsibility allowances, which are on top of the basic allowance, councillors will be paid as follows:

  • Leader of council: £19,008.75
  • Deputy leader: £11,610.75
  • Tier 1 – Lead councillors (e.g. lead member for Housing): £9,761.25
  • Tier 2 – Leader of the main opposition group (currently Conservatives) and chairs of Licensing and Planning committees: £6,234.09
  • Tier 3 – Chairs of committees and group leaders of other political groups: £3,123.57
  • Tier 4 – Vice-chairs of committees, the independent chair of the Standards committee and the Fostering Panel member: £1,103.54

A rough estimation of how much each councillor will earn gives an estimated  total of around £550,000 but this will change depending on who is elected in May’s local elections and any changes to roles afterwards.

RBC’s Full Council unanimously backed the independent panel’s recommendations on Tuesday, March 23.