Councillors in line for severance payments up to £35k

Environment Minister Alex Attwood
Environment Minister Alex Attwood

Councillors who do not stand for election next year for the ‘supercouncil’ comprising of Magherafelt, Cookstown and Dungannon, could be in line for a £35,000 severance payment, it has been confirmed.

Environment Minister, Alex Attwood, said the one-off scheme, which will open on August 1, is designed to recognise long-serving councillors who will not be standing for re-election next year.

Alex Attwood said: “Elections to the 11 new councils will take place in 2014 and there will be 120 fewer seats than at present.

“Many of our long-serving councillors will not be standing for re-election. These are councillors who worked hard for their communities and made a significant contribution to their communities when civil and political unrest was at its height.

“I believe, and it has been widely accepted, that it is right to acknowledge these councillors as they leave council life.”

The scheme was finalised after a period of public consultation earlier this year. Its main components include a minimum eligibility period of 12 years (cumulatively), graduated yearly payments to ensure that those with longer periods of service are treated fairly and proportionately, and a cap on individual payments of £35,000.