A TORY councillor – who doesn’t claim his salary – has condemned a pay rise for elected members, writes Jack Thomson

Alistair Mackay claimed there shouldn’t be another hike for councillors, because they already had one last year. 

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. 

This has also been extended to senior councillors – which includes the likes of board conveners and the chair of Renfrewshire Leisure – and the leaders of the two largest opposition groups. 

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However, Councillor Mackay, a representative of Johnstone South and Elderslie, said: “I wish to object to an increase in remuneration, bearing in mind we received an increase last year.

“I would like to keep the status quo.”

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

As a result, Councillor Mackay’s dissent was noted but the 2.8 per cent increase was approved. 

A public record of councillors’ salaries, allowances and expenses shows that both Councillor Mackay and his Conservative colleague Councillor John McIntyre requested not to receive their payment for the period running from April 2017 to March 2018.

The same record for April 2018 to March 2019 has yet to be published. 

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Both elected members have been asked previously why they haven’t claimed their allowance, leading Councillor Mackay to say he felt it was his “civic duty”.

“I think it’s my civic duty to do things like that,” Councillor Mackay said in July. “I think everyone should take a turn at it.

“I’m not into career politics. Once I’ve finished my five years, I’m not going to stand again.”

Councillor McIntyre said he felt it was a “job that you have to want to do”. 

Last week, Councillor Eddie Devine, leader of the opposition Labour group, backed the increase for councillors and went on to say the leader should be on a lot more. 

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.”

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.

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