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States members to receive flat-rate salary

Posted Thu 18th December 2008 at 10:48

States members will receive a flat-rate salary of 7,000 a year from 2009.

The island's politicians backed plans to replace the existing attendance allowance system at last night's meeting, despite two members speaking out against the proposal.

Liz Bennett said the plan should be amended so that members would receive more than 7,000 a year, while Ian Tugby said there was no need to change the current system.

Mrs Bennett revealed she will receive more than 10,000 in attendance allowances this year and that the flat-rate salary suggested by independent reviewer Christopher Day, Guernsey's former Deputy Bailiff, isn't high enough.

Mrs Bennett said: 'I spend one hour a day on emails and occasionally work four days a week on States business. I would say being a States member is a part-time job that takes up a lot of time and that 7,000 a year is not adequate.'

Mrs Bennett's suggestion of paying members extra cash for each sub-committee and working group they sit on was opposed by her colleagues, apart from Barbara Benfield who seconded the motion. Richard Willmott and Bill Walden did, however, say they sympathised with Mrs Bennett's position.

Mr Tugby said the current system, which pays members 60 for each half-day session of meetings they attend, worked well and warned that members may be paid without contributing to the States if they are awarded a flat-rate salary.

Mr Tugby said: 'It is a total waste of time getting 7,000 a year. What happens if you don't do a lot of work?

'We should carry on getting paid for what we do.'

Mr Tugby also criticised the States for following Guernsey.

'We seem to be obsessed with doing everything that Guernsey does and they are not a shining example. I know that comment will upset a few people but that's how I feel.'

Mr Walden disputed Mr Tugby's suggestion that the current system is effective.

He said: 'Mr Tugby said it was working well but I don't think many members would agree. Why would they have called for an independent review if that were the case?

'The recommendations in the review should be accepted.'

Colin Williams urged the States to accept the proposal but suggested it should be assessed in 12 months' time.

Also last night, the States agreed to purchase land adjacent to Jubilee House, in order to build a bigger care home, and increase the occupier's rate by 5%.

Mooring charges will also go up, by 5.8%, while visiting yachts will be required to pay an extra 2 a night under new harbour charges. The cost of obtaining a liquor licence and importing a car to the island were also increased, while various company fees will rise broadly in line with RPI.

Members also agreed to change the way water bills are calculated, from TRV to TRP. Mr Walden assured islanders the alteration would not result in extra income being received but said it would slightly alter residents' bills up or down.

Alderney President Sir Norman Browse ended the meeting, the last for outgoing members Miss Benfield, who will step down from the States on December 31, and Barry Pengilley and Lin Maurice, who lost their seats at the recent election, by saying he had written to Sark's politicians to express the States' support for the island. He said Alderney would do what it could to help Sark, should it require any assistance.

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