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‘Significant reasons’ to increase allowance

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An independent panel has recommended a pay rise to £86,121 from next year for Dr Nik Johnson, mayor of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.

The recommendation will be put to the combined authority board this week.

The panel comprised a Cambridgeshire resident Nicky Blanning, business consultant Gerard Dempsey, company director Jennifer Horn and marketing consultant/magistrate Amanda Orchard.

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Their “significant reasons” for recommending the increase are contained in their report.

It says: “Under the 2019 accepted independent panel recommendations the level of mayoral allowance at the start of the 2022/23 municipal year would be £86,121 or higher, set against the current indexation of the Consumer Price Index.”

The panel felt this decision should be respected.

The panel said they did “not identify any evidence that the position of mayor at Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority had diminished and/or warranted the level of allowance to be reduced”.

They felt the level of mayoral allowance be indexed against the National Joint Council cost of living increase each year rather than the Consumer Price Index.

“The CPI indexation is not considered to be appropriate for the position of mayor,” they concluded.

“The NJC indexation is not only considered to be more appropriate for the position it is also considered to be more equitable, more in line with staff pay increases and less of a political and reputational risk to the Combined Authority.

“The current CPI indexation would increase the level of mayoral allowance above that which the Panel is of the view should apply to the role.”

The panel says the mayoral allowances are due to be next reviewed in early 2025 to be applicable from the beginning of the mayoral term in May 2025. 77.

“If appropriate indexation against NJC is applied then the panel is of the view that an independent review every two years is no longer required.”

A 2017 review recommended an allowance of £75,000 per annum be payable to the mayor and that the allowance should not be indexed for inflationary purposes now but should instead be subject to review before the expiry of 24 months from the date that the scheme of allowances is adopted.

“Significant reasons” for recommending a pay increase for Mayor Dr Nik Johnson have been published by an independent panel.

The Combined Authority Board subsequently endorsed the recommendations.

The 2019 review recommended an allowance of £80,000 per annum be payable to the mayor and that the indexation factor be set as the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

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The panel says the mayor oversees a £20 million annual budget devolved from government and has devolved powers to spend up to £800 million on local housing, infrastructure, and jobs.

Additionally, the panel noted that £600 million has been allocated to the Combined Authority to improve infrastructure, £100 million for new affordable housing, with an additional £70 million specifically for affordable housing in Cambridge itself.

The budget for Adult Education has also now been devolved to the mayor and the Combined Authority.

“As chair of the Combined Authority board, with some decision-making requiring specific mayoral support to progress, the mayor has a vital role in ensuring the Combined Authority Board works collaboratively in order to arrive at consensus to enable it to deliver its key functions,” says the panel.

They were of the view “that this is a considerable responsibility given the budget, subject matter, powers, and responsibilities of the Combined Authority board”.

The current remuneration for Combined Authority mayors is as follows:

Greater Manchester £110,000 (includes PCC & Fire responsibilities)

Liverpool City Region £80,631

North of Tyne £65,000

South Yorkshire £79,000

Tees Valley £65,000

West Midlands £79,000 (currently subject to IRP review)

West of England £72,000 (due to increase to £87k by 2025)

West Yorkshire £105,000 (includes PCC & Fire responsibilities)

The panel noted that this created a national average remuneration (allowance) of £81,953. 44.

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