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How councillors are paid

Pay bands for councils and councillors

The Local Government (Allowances and Expenses) (Scotland) Regulations 2007 (as amended) set the pay of councillors and are revised from time to time. The basic annual pay for councillors from 4 May 2017 is £16,927, as set out in the The Local Governance (Scotland) Act 2004 (Remuneration) Amendment Regulations 2017).

The Regulations place each council into one of four Bands, based on various factors including the size of the council budget. The Band determines the level of pay for senior posts within the council, namely the Leader of the Council, Civic Head and senior councillors (those with additional responsibilities such as chairing a committee), and the number of senior councillors on each council.

The Rates for 2017-18 are as set out below:

Council Band Councils Salary of Leader Salary of Civic Head
A Clackmannanshire; East Lothian; East Renfrewshire; Eilean Siar; Inverclyde; Midlothian; Moray; Orkney Islands; Shetland Islands; Stirling £28,213 £21,160
B Angus; Argyll and Bute; Dumfries and Galloway; Dundee City; East Ayrshire; East Dunbartonshire; Falkirk; North Ayrshire; Perth and Kinross; Renfrewshire; Scottish Borders; South Ayrshire; West Dunbartonshire; West Lothian £33,857 £25,392
C Aberdeen City; Aberdeenshire; Fife; Highland; North Lanarkshire; South Lanarkshire £39,497 £29,624
D City of Edinburgh; Glasgow City £50,783 £38,087

The Regulations do not specify the pay for senior councillors, but set the maximum amount (75% of the pay of the Leader of the Council) and the minimum amount (the basic pay of a councillor) that a senior councillor can be paid. The Regulations also specify the maximum number of senior councillors that a council can designate and the maximum total amount that can be paid to senior councillors on a council.

In addition to this pay, councillors are eligible to join the Local Government Pension Scheme if they so wish. Councillors are also entitled to payment of allowances for subsistence and travel and reimbursement of expenses which are incurred when undertaking council duties.

Scottish Local Authorities Remuneration Committee

The framework for councillor pay arose from the work of the Scottish Local Authorities Remuneration Committee (SLARC) which was established under the Local Governance (Scotland) Act 2004 to advise Scottish Ministers on the payment by local authorities of remuneration (pay), pensions and allowances and on the reimbursement of expenses incurred by councillors. SLARC’s recommendations were first implemented for councillors elected in the local government elections in May 2007. SLARC was stood down as a committee in February 2013, but the principles of its work continue in force.