COUNCILLORS on the new super-council covering Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole can expect a hefty pay rise compared with current allowances.

The public will save around £500,000 from a drastic cut in the number of councillors, but those who make it onto the new authority will see allowances increase.

An independent panel asked councillors how many hours they put into their role – and found estimates ranged from 20 hours a month to more than 200.

The panel is recommending a basic allowance of £12,500 for members of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council. Members currently receive £9,290 a year in Bournemouth, £9,552 in Poole and only £4,154 in Christchurch, where many services are currently provided by Dorset County Council.

The leader of the new council is in line for a £30,000 special responsibility allowance, taking his or her total to £42,500.

The leaders currently collect £37,558 in Bournemouth, £32,400 in Poole and £15,109 in Christchurch.

Cllr Mark Howell, who leads the Poole People group of councillors, said the rise in the basic allowance was “perfectly reasonable” but was concerned that committee chairs would receive an extra £5,000 or £10,000.

“It just makes it much more likely that the chair is not going to be independent,” he said.

“They’re not going to step out of line if they think they’re going to lose their £10,000.”

He was also concerned that the leader and cabinet would earn significantly more than the average local wage.

“A cabinet member is not supposed to be a full-time job but they’re creating these full-time jobs and then the people who take them will be dependent on maintaining those jobs so they will be more likely just to toe the line,” he added.

Broadstone Liberal Democrat Vikki Slade was also concerned about the extra money for many of the committee chairs, but thought the basic allowance “fair”. She estimates she spends 100 hours a month on council work.

“Broadstone is facing a 40 per cent increase in the people we’re going to have to provide support to. If you’re going from three councillors to two and the ward boundaries are increasing, that’s quite a big difference,” she said.

The independent remuneration panel was chaired by John Quinton, former head of democratic services at Wiltshire council.

Its report said councillors’ opinions “differed considerably” on how much the basic allowance should be – from £5,000 to £15,000.

“The panel received the views of some councillors to the effect that a higher level of basic allowance would attract people from a broader spectrum and demographic to stand for election,” the report said.

“In some areas it was difficult to recruit new candidates and there was a need to make the role more attractive.”

The panel noted that councillors on the new authority would be running a more complicated organisation. Each councillor would represent up to 50 per cent more residents in the case of Bournemouth and Poole members and 150 per cent more in Christchurch.

The panel stressed the allowance was “an allowance and not a salary”.

The 120 members of the current three councils will be replaced by 76 when the new authority holds its first elections on May 6.

A meeting of the new shadow authority for the new council will consider the recommended allowances on Thursday, February 21.