A NEW schedule of “special responsibility” allowances set for the new Herefordshire Council ranges from to £500 to nearly £30,000.

All 53 members will have to complete mandatory training before being entitled to their full  basic allowance of £7,254.

Without completing relevant training, members receive a basic allowance of £5,438.

The latest allowances scheme has been agreed following consideration of recommendations by an independent remuneration panel after a review last month.

Due to be put to the first meeting of the new full council next Friday (May 22), the allowances scheme is divided into five bands and two categories:

* Band 1 - £28,839 - the leader of the council.

* Band 2 - £11,750 - cabinet members and the chairs of the  two overview and scrutiny committees.

* Band 3 - £9,078 - chairman of the council, the chairman of the planning committee and the chairman of the regulatory committee.

* Band 4 - £4,540 - chairman of the audit and governance committee.

* Band 5 – £1,602 - vice-chairman of the council, vice-chairman of the overview and scrutiny committees and group leaders (plus £124 per group member) – provided group membership exceeds 10 per cent of the council’s total membership.

The two categories are:

* Cabinet member support team - an allowance of up to £5,875  for these posts up to 50 per cent of the band 2 allowance – subject to the total budget currently allocated for individual cabinet members not being exceeded.

* Scrutiny task and finish groups -  an allowance of £500 is payable to the chairmen of any special scrutiny task and finish groups appointed by the relevant overview and scrutiny committee – subject to appropriate criteria being met.

Earlier this month, the Hereford Times revealed that Herefordshire councillors had been “underpaid” over the past five years with the money to be made good to winners and losers alike after last week’s election.

An administration error showed that an annual uplift of allowances councillors can claim had not applied since 2011 – the year of the last council election.

The error was revealed in a review of levels of remuneration for members to be recommended to the new council, with the uplift councillors were entitled to in line with the local government services pay award.

Two pay awards have taken place since 2011, a one per cent increase effective from April 1, 2013 and a  2.2% increase effective from  January 1 this year.

Council chief executive Alistair Neill has apologised to members offering van assurance that processes had been put in place to prevent a similar scenario from happening again.

The council is now making arrangements to make good on any underpayments as a result of the error in time for the next allowances payment.

Each member is to receive a letter confirming the effect on their payments.

 Some have already said they will be turning the money down.

Figures from the council’s 2013-14 – or latest available - statement of accounts show £643,000 worth of allowances were paid to councillors over that financial year.

 The sum broke down to:

* Basic allowances: £421,000

* Special allowances: £186,000

* Travel and subsistence: £36,000.

Each member received  a basic allowance of around £7,200 with claims  made for designated special responsibilities as well as for travel, food and computer and telephone bills.

In 2013,  councillors overwhelmingly rejected a 10 per cent cut in allowances proposed by two first term members as a contribution to identified budget savings.

Herefordshire councillors have consistently claimed that they receive far less than the national average in carrying out their roles.