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by Louise Wilson
10 January 2022
Pay councillors more, says Cosla

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Pay councillors more, says Cosla

Councillor wages should be brought up to at least the real living wage, Cosla has said.

A survey conducted by the council umbrella body found, on average, councillors worked 38.6 hours per week.

On a basic salary of £18,604, that means councillors earn £9.27 per hour on average – above the current national living wage (£8.91) but below the Scottish real living wage (£9.90).

The national living wage across the UK is set to rise to £9.50 per hour in April.

Cosla’s president Cllr Alison Evison said the current basic salary for councillors “does not cut the mustard”.

She said: “All of us within Scottish local government want to harness the power of a more locally democratic way of doing things, to enable a more diverse range of voices at the decision-making table, and to overhaul participation in council policy-making across the country – but people need to be properly remunerated to make this rhetoric a reality.”

Evison called for a “realistic look at the remuneration” for councillors ahead of the local authority elections in May, warning that not increasing pay would put in place financial barriers for underrepresented groups.

Councillor pay, which is set by the Scottish Government, was increased from £17,854 last year.

Those serving in senior positions, including as leader of the council, receive additional remuneration capped by the government.

But overall, councillor salaries are significantly lower than MSPs (who earn £66,662 per year) and MPs (who earn £81,932 per year).

Nearly half (43 per cent) of councillors who responded to Cosla’s survey reported having a second paid job, working on average 24.8 hours in addition to their elected duties.

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