A JOHNSTONE councillor has defended his decision to claim a salary for the first time since being elected two years ago, writes Jack Thomson

Alistair Mackay was voted in as Conservative member for Johnstone South and Elderslie in May 2017 but requested not to receive a pay cheque for his civic duties during his first two years in the job at Renfrewshire Council.

His fellow Tory councillor John McIntyre, who represents Paisley Northwest, has done likewise.

READ MORE: Tory councillor condemns pay rise for elected members

However, the pair have decided to receive their salaries in 2019/20.

Councillor Mackay, who objected to an increase in councillors’ earnings in May this year, confirmed he had taken his salary and explained his decision.

He said: “The council has been unable to take account for how it’s spent my salary, along with the pension and national insurance contributions it was making at the same time.

The Gazette: Cllr John McIntyre has also claimed his salary for the first time Cllr John McIntyre has also claimed his salary for the first time

“As they couldn’t account for it, apart from debt smoothing, I felt I would like to take control of it.”

Councillor McIntyre, who was also elected in May 2017, confirmed that he too has had a change of heart when it comes to claiming his salary.

“I’ve spent more time in the council than doing other things, he said. “There are different parts to the work.”

READ MORE: Renfrewshire Councillors claimed over £20k in expenses last year

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

This was also 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.

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

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