Allowances claimed by elected members of Hertfordshire County Council will increase by two per cent.

That will mean the ‘basic allowance’ claimed by every councillor will go up from £10,178 to £10,381.56.

And it will mean the amount councillors can claim for any additional ‘special responsibility’ – expressed in multiples of the basic allowance – will increase too.

The increase was put forward by the ‘independent panel on members’ allowances’ and voted for by a meeting of the full council last Tuesday (February 19).

In drawing up their proposal, the independent panel compared Hertfordshire to 12 other county councils, where they found the average basic allowance was  £10,811.

When the panel met in December they considered submissions from each of the political group leaders.

The panel also recommended that the posts eligible for ‘special responsibility’ allowances and their relative payments should remain unchanged.

Currently a number of councillors are eligible for ‘special responsibility’ payments as part of the allowances scheme,  including executive members, committee chairs, spokesmen from opposition parties and group leaders.

The highest special responsibility allowance is paid to the leader of the council and  is the equivalent of four times the basic allowance.

Executive members receive an additional sum that’s the equivalent of twice the basic allowance and chairs of audit, pensions, development control committees receive double the basic allowance.

Opposition group leaders receive payments that reflect the number of members in their party, and opposition spokesmen receive a payment equivalent to half the basic allowance.

However there have been some concerns raised by Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors about the level of allowance paid to the deputy executive members, which doubles their basic allowance.

Cllr David Williams said that in their next meeting, in November, the panel would consider the roles and responsibilities of executive members and deputy executive members, with input from the group leaders through a questionnaire.