Cllr Craig Browne - allowances

Cheshire East looks set to freeze councillor allowance rates for this financial year, writes Belinda Ryan.

But they could allow eligible members to claim two Special Responsibility Allowances (SRA) instead of one.

If the extra special SRA is voted through by full council this month, it comes too late for Cllr Craig Browne (pictured).

He said he was standing down as deputy leader and highways chair because he couldn’t afford to stay in the roles.

At present, councillors can only claim one SRA.

This means Cllr Browne currently gets the basic allowance all councillors receive of £12,851 plus £17,820 SRA for being deputy leader – a total to £30,671.

At a corporate policy committee meeting, Labour and the Independents voted to recommend to full council that it allows councillors to claim two SRA, as advised by the Independent Remuneration Panel.

This would allow CLlr Browne to claim another SRA of £12,485 as highways chair, taking his total “pay” to £43,156.

Any service committee chair, who currently receives an SRA of £12,485, would get an additional SRA of £6,242 if they were also vice chair of a different service committee.

Cllr Browne said: “I’m leaving these roles not because I want to but because I’ve got to and I’ve got to because it has become financially unsustainable for me to continue.

“The deputy leader in a joint administration in a council that is 15th largest in the country… is a full time job with a part-time salary…

“If it’s a full time role it removes the option of going out and earning a salary, so how are you supposed to survive unless you are either retired or independently wealthy?”

He said he had never received a penny for being in charge of highways for five years.

He added if the proposals had come forward nine months ago “there is every likelihood that I would not now be leaving the roles that I currently occupy”.

Council leader Sam Corcoran (Lab) told the committee: “There are members of our council who have given up jobs to work for the council and are struggling financially.

“We have frozen allowances for a number of years, we put them up by four per cent in 2022/23 when inflation was running at 10%, we’re advocating freezing them again now.”

Cllr Corcoran would be entitled to an extra £12,485 as chair of corporate policy if full council approves the recommendation.

He said if it was approved it is up to individual members as to whether they take the allowances and this could be checked in the list of councillor allowances next year.

Cllr Mark Goldsmith (Wilmslow, Ind) said it would bring Cheshire East in line with almost all other councils.

Conservative group leader Janet Clowes proposed an amendment to remove the recommendation permitting councillors to claim two SRAs.

This was voted down by Labour and the Independents.

Cllr Jos Saunders (Poynton, Con) said: “At the moment our residents are being asked to have, potentially, their recycling centres mothballed, they’re being asked to pay an uplift in green bin charges and, as a council, we’ve already gone through on the MTFS (budget) the challenges that are facing us, and having this will actually mean that we spend more money.”

Cllr Chris O’Leary (Sutton, Con) said to vote to allow extra payments “at a meeting where we’ve heard that the council’s reserves are inadequate is, I would suggest, perverse”.

A final decision will be made at full council on February 27.


  1. I am glad he hasn’t received a penny for being in charge of the highways. A penny would have been to much given the state of the roads. The issue at Cheshire East is that they have too many people in positions who are completely out of their depth.

  2. Phil woollams says:

    Cllr Craig Brown, welcome to the real world and goodbye.
    As for the council pushing the vote through for them selves SHAME on you all in this climate.

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