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Conservative Kent county councillor Peter Lake calls for increase in allowances to attract younger candidates

By Paul Francis

A Conservative county councillor says there should be an increase in allowances paid to elected members to attract younger people to stand for election.

Cllr Peter Lake, who represents Sevenoaks, said it was becoming “nigh on impossible” to persuade younger candidates to put themselves up for election.

His intervention comes as KCC awaits the recommendations of an independent panel on a new allowances scheme for the authority’s elected members.

Cllr Peter Lake
Cllr Peter Lake

The scheme has been delayed because the panel has asked for more time to gauge opinions on what allowances should be paid to the authority’s 81 elected members.

Cllr Lake, who has returned to KCC after a four-year break, said that while being a councillor was fulfilling it was not necessarily rewarding.

He said: “I hope the panel will accept a sensible increase in the basic allowance - I am not asking for an increase in the special responsibility allowances. Why? It is nigh on impossible to encourage younger members to join KCC unless we can reward them properly.”

“I have no axe to grind and I hope the panel will accept my advice.”

KCC members currently receive £12,805 by way of basic allowance which every councillor is entitled to claim. In addition, there are a range of other allowances for those with special responsibility, including cabinet members, who qualify for £27,370.

Special responsibility allowances are also paid to committee chairmen and opposition group leaders.

And county councillors can claim travel expenses when on official KCC business.

A report to the council has revealed that members of the council have urged the independent panel to consider index-linking their allowances.

It says: “The Panel was asked specifically by the former county council to recommend a scheme of indexation for the Members’ Allowances Scheme to ensure the amount of an elected Members Basic Allowance and Special Responsibility Allowance is automatically uplifted.”

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