THE CHAIRMAN of Powys County Council’s Pensions and Investment committee is set to receive a pay rise of just under £8,800 a year.

At a council meeting on Thursday, September 23 a discussion took place on whether to pay Cllr Peter Lewis (Conservative) the “equivalent” of a Senior Responsibility Allowance (SRA) for his work.

The recommendation for the payment was because the workload in the role has increased in recent years.

Back in May 2019, following a review of payments for committee chairmen across the council a decision was taken a decision not to award the role a senior responsibility salary.

Head of finance, Jane Thomas told councillors that she believed back in 2019 they had not received enough evidence of the workload involved and why the role deserved to be salaried.

She added that the money to pay the extra allowance would come from the pension fund itself.

Labour’s Cllr Huw Williams who is a member of the pensions and investment committee said: “The workload has increased, and the responsibility is significant, we are a part of the Wales Pensions Partnership and he chaired that last year.

“He’s a great example of how we should operate, he has knowledge experience and understanding.

“I would fully support the recommendation.”

But others were not so supportive and pointed out that there were other committee chairmen who also deserved a senior salary but didn’t get one.

Cllr Gwilym Williams said: “I realise it’s a big responsibility, I understand it will be paid from the pension pot, but it’s all taxpayers money.

“Does this set a precedent?

“Cllr Elwyn Vaughan chairs a committee (Democratic Services) that has more meetings – shouldn’t we consider paying him an SRA?”

Head of legal and democratic services Clive Pinney said: “If Cllr Gwilym or any others feel that we should review the SRAs in the council that’s a matter we can consider, and it can be looked at by the Democratic Services committee.”

Cllr Roger Williams said: “This should be done as a review of all the other chairs.”

He pointed out that PCC paid into the fund and any money taken out would need to be covered by the council.

Cllr Gareth Ratcliffe believed the council needed to be “sensible” and put the proposal through scrutiny in the Democratic Services committee.

Cllr Ratcliffe said: “The public purse is being stretched at the moment and public perception of jobs for the boys, it has to go through the proper channels.”

Council leader Cllr Rosemarie Harris believed that they councillors should not be comparing the Pensions and Investment committee with other council committees.

Cllr Harris “This committee does not equate to anything else in the council their work is completely different.”

An amendment to have the proposal looked at by Democratic Services was defeated by 37 votes to 26.

The vote to give the payment succeeded with 42 votes for and 19 against.

This means that on top of the basic pay of  £14,368  a year this move will see Cllr Lewis’ pay go up to £23,161 which is on a par with other Powys’ other scrutiny committee chairmen.