CONWY councillors will debate the merits of their proposed pay rise.

Members of the council’s democratic services committee will discuss the planned pay rise that would see ordinary members get an extra £268 and cabinet members an additional £532 a year.

The pay rise has been recommended by the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales, the body that decides councillors’ wages.

The cash strapped council became the first authority in Wales to introduce monthly black bin collections during the autumn and last week it brought in an inflation busting 9.6 percent council tax hike.

Some councillors feel this is the wrong time to have to be talking about pay rises.

Cllr Brian Cossey, of the Liberal Democrats, said: “It’s good to have an independent body to set the allowances but they seem oblivious to the financial difficulties facing all councils and the requests from many councillors that now is the time to have a freeze on increasing the payments.”

And cllr Wyn Jones, the leader of the Plaid Cymru group, said: “In such a time when most of the public sector have pay-caps, why should councillors enjoy a pay rise?

“Conwy and other local authorities across Wales are seeking ways to cut services in order to balance budgets. Every year we’re asking our residents to dig deeper to fund council tax increases. How can a councillor pay rise be justified?

“In a meeting of the council last month, councillors called on the Welsh government to determine the levels of pay for councillors at the start of an electoral term, rather than annually which only adds costs to the taxpayer.”

Currently councillors in the county get a basic salary of £13,600 a year, this goes up to £29,300 for cabinet members and £22,300 for committee chairs.

Councillors will have to decide whether to give any civic salary to the posts of chair and deputy chair of the authority.

If paid, the payment would be £22,568, up from £21,800 for a civic head and a salary of £17,568, the same as is currently in place for a deputy civic head.

Members of the committee meeting on Monday will have to make a recommendation to the full council on payments to chairs and the civic head and deputy head of the council.

In a report to members of the committee, cllr Anne McCaffrey, the cabinet member for democracy law and modernisation, said: “Across Wales, much still needs to be done to achieve greater diversity in public and political life. We need to attract a wider range of people to stand for election, so that council chambers are better able to reflect and represent our communities.

"Remuneration has a part to play in making councillor roles attractive and open to more people in our communities. As a newly appointed Mentor to the Women’s Equality Network Mentoring Programme, gender balance is a key priority and I am looking forward to using this new role to support more women into political life.”