THE leader of Renfrewshire Council’s salary has been bumped to almost £35,000 – only for his fierce political rival to say it’s nowhere near enough. 

A 2.8 per cent increase has been given to the leader, provost and councillors, which has seen their earnings rise to £34,994, £26,208 and £17,470 respectively. 

But Councillor Eddie Devine, leader of the opposition Labour group, said his SNP counterpart Councillor Iain Nicolson should be on a lot more. 

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He said: “Our leader is responsible for a budget of some £400 million and around 7,000 employees, so I don’t think that is anywhere near enough. 

“Council leaders should be on better remuneration than they’re getting, particularly the bigger councils because it’s not a lot of money for the role. 

“They should be properly financed.”

At Thursday’s full council meeting elected members will decide whether senior councillors – including the likes of board conveners and the chair of Renfrewshire Leisure – are given the same 2.8 per cent hike. 

The rise has also been recommended for the leaders of the largest and second largest opposition groups, which in Renfrewshire are the Labour and Conservative parties. 

Councillor Devine is supportive of the increase but said the basic rate for councillors needed to be higher to encourage more young people to take part in local politics. 

“They need to introduce a wage that is going to attract young people to come here,” he said. 

“I’m not dismissing £17,000 as a salary, in a time when people are going to foodbanks, but I think it’s time they look at councillors’ wages in general. 

“If they want to attract younger people into jobs, they need something that convinces them to come from another career. 

“We certainly need a lot younger people in councils but you’re not going to get people to give up a job of £24,000 or more to come and do a job for £17,000. 

“It’s a strenuous job if you’re doing it correctly.”

The Scottish Government determines the basic pay of councillors and it cannot be varied by individual councils. 

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Since May 2017, the earnings of elected members have been linked to the pay of Scottish public sector workers. 

There are 43 councillors in Renfrewshire, each representing one of 12 multi-member electoral wards. 

They are directly elected by residents of the area they represent.

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