COUNCILLORS’ basic pay is set to increase by just less than one per cent in the next financial year, according to the panel which sets it.

The Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales has decided there should be a small increase in councillors’ salaries in its annual report for 2014 – the first since 2011.

Its chairman acknowledged the increase could cause concern, but said it is his panel’s responsibility to ensure that the role of councillors are not undervalued.

Under Welsh law it has been the panel’s role to set councillors’ salaries for the whole of Wales for three years – taking the issue out of the political arena of individual town halls.

Chairman of the panel Richard Penn said: “Given the very modest relaxation in the constraints on public sector pay this year, the panel has decided to increase the basic salary for members of principal authorities by just under one per cent from spring 2014, and to increase other payments proportionately.

“We recognise that this modest increase may cause concern to individual councillors given the general financial context for local government but it is the responsibility of the panel to ensure that the role of councillor is not undervalued.“It remains, however, the right of any individual councillor to independently and voluntarily opt to forego all or any element of the remuneration to which they are entitled.”

Basic salaries for all councillors will be set at £13,300 in 2014/15 – up from £13,175 in 2013/14.

Council leaders in Caerphilly and Newport will get a total of £48,000, up from £47,500; deputy leaders will get £33,500, up on £33,460, while other cabinet members will receive £29,000, up from £28,780.

In the other Gwent counties the leader will be paid £43,000 in 2014/15, a rise from £42,300, while the deputy leader will be paid £30,000, up from £29,820.

Other cabinet or executive members in the latter councils will be paid £26,000 in 2014/15, up on £25,660 in 2013/14.

The leader of the largest opposition group in all councils will be paid £22,000, from £21,910, while leaders of other political groups will get £17,000, up from £16,920.