Devon county councillors have voted to give themselves a 15 per cent increase in their allowances.

What Devon County Council's councillors' allowances will increase byWhat Devon County Council's councillors' allowances will increase by

The independent remuneration panel had recommended that a rise from the current figure of £10,970 to £12,607 to be implemented by the council.

No rise in allowances for members has taken place in the last nine years.

Councillors were given a free vote on the issue at Thursday’s full council meeting, and all but the Liberal Democrat councillors voted in favour of the rise with immediate effect.

They had wanted to delay the rise until May 2021 after the next county elections.

Councillors in the chamber debated the rise said that it needed to happen to attract a more diverse, inclusive and representative council, stressed that they were not the ones recommending this, and that most councillors end up out of pocket compared to how they would fare if they were in full time employment.

Fremington councillor Frank Biederman said he had given up money to be councillor, but it was a privilege to be one.

But he added: “This is more than a full time job and it works out as us being paid £3.35 an hour if we do 60 hours work a week, and £5 an hour for a 40 hour week.

“We might get a bit of stick for this, but if we provide good value and work hard for that money, we will get voted back in.”

The panel report recommending the rise said: “It has been nine years since the last rise in members allowances which had impacted in the age and gender profile of councillors potentially not reflecting or representing diverse communities and it was reported that it would be difficult to give up work to become a councillor as the expenses did not cover costs of living.

“To have councillors reflecting society, both in terms of age and gender, attracting candidates of working age and the need for good support, including child care allowances, was seen as increasingly important.”

Of the 60 current county councillors, 52 of them are over the age of the 50, and 15 are aged more than 70. There are just three councillors who are younger than 40 and none under the age of 30.