THE BASIC allowance that East Hampshire district councillors can claim is set to increase by more than a third.

The 34.6 per cent rise that EHDC is likely to approve tonight (Thursday) at Penns Place is the first for four years and follows a “long overdue” review.

A recommendation to increase the allowance (BA) from £5,200 to £7,000 a year has been put forward by a panel with the rise adding £122,000 a year to the council’s expenditure.

The amount is “intended to recognise the overall contribution made by councillors”.

Just over half the 35 councillors who completed a survey felt the old allowance scheme was unfair with 83 per cent agreeing the figure should mirror similar-sized authorities.

Sixty and 34 per cent supported or opposed an increase, respectively, with most calling the current BA too low and not reflective of the effort devoted to council work.

While some members were hesitant to back a rise, fearing a negative impact on EHDC’s budget and council tax bills, the majority do not believe the current BA is representative of the existing economic climate.

The EHDC allowance of £5,200 is the 14th lowest of 17 authorities locally and is considerably less than the £8,832 offered by the Isle of Wight Council.

It’s fairly similar to Waverley (£5,609), Chichester (£5,460) and Hart £4,875). Further recommendations include giving the leader of the council, Cllr Richard Millard, a Special Responsibility Allowance of £21,000 and the figure of £11,500 for the deputy leader.

Cabinet members look also set to receive an SRA of £8,400 while the figure is £6,260 for the chairs of the planning and overview & scrutiny committee.

If approved, the new allowances will be back-dated to May 2023 when the current council was formed.