Political news

Council lobby group 'fully supports' wage review for councillors

The Northern Ireland Local Government Association said the role of councillors "continues to grow" and so it is "reasonable and fair" to regularly review their pay
Brendan Hughes

AN ORGANISATION representing Northern Ireland councils which has been calling for local authorities to receive more powers in Stormont's absence has said it "fully supports" a review of councillors' wages.

The Northern Ireland Local Government Association (Nilga), which represents the north's 11 councils, said the role of councillors "continues to grow" and so it is "reasonable and fair" to regularly review their pay.

It comes after The Irish News revealed in December that councillors have been lobbying Stormont civil servants for wage "equality" with MLAs and MPs.

The National Association of Councillors' Northern Ireland branch – a union representing councillors – wrote to officials last year calling for an "urgent review" of remuneration and benefits.

The north has 462 councillors, each receiving a basic annual pay of around £14,000. By comparison, councillors in London have a recommended basic allowance of £11,045.

Asked whether Nilga backs a pay rise for the north's councillors, a spokeswoman said it "fully supports a robust review of councillors' allowances".

"The capacity of the role and the commitment required by councillors across Northern Ireland continues to grow, it is therefore both reasonable and fair, for a regular review of the councillors' allowances to be undertaken," she said.

"Nilga's priority remains ensuring that the 11 councils have the resources they need to deliver high quality services at affordable costs, as is evident with councils striking their rates mainly in line with or below inflation, combining growth for their local economies and prudence for citizens and visitors alike."

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