Written Answers. - Strategic Policy Committees.

Michael D. Higgins

Question:

667 Mr. M. Higgins asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government if he has sanctioned the payment of an annual allowance to the chairpersons of the new strategic policy committees being established by county councils and county borough councils; if he has sanctioned the payment of a similar annual allowance to chairpersons of the new municipal policy committees being established by borough councils and the larger urban district councils; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1236/99]

Arising from a review of the system of expenses for members of local authorities, county councils and county borough corporations were authorised to pay an allowance of up to £4,000 per year to the chair of each strategic policy committee established by the council. Circular LGP 5/98, dated 3 July 1998 refers. The decision to pay an allowance and its amount, subject to a maximum of £4,000, is a matter for determination by the members of each such local authority.

There is no provision for an allowance for chairpersons of municipal policy committees established in town local authorities. The increases in the expenses allowances for elected members of town local authorities which I introduced in July 1998 cover all meetings of the authority and its committees, including any municipal policy committees, where these are established. The relevant local authorities were advised of this by circular letter LGP 6/98 from my Department in July 1998. Establishment of a municipal policy committee is at the discretion of the town authority concerned.