Councillors’ £30k golden handshake

NEWTOWNABBEY councillors could be in line for a £30,000 ‘golden handshake’, under plans to merge the 26 councils into 11 local authorities.

Under proposals drafted by the Department of Environment to reduce the number of councils and elected representatives, councillors will be entitled to claim for a severance package if they decide to step down.

Environment Minister Alex Attwood said: “Consultation will be on the basis of a cap no higher than £30,000. I may decide that it should be lower.

“The amount is proposed to assist longest-serving councillors, some of whom have been serving as long as their council has been in existence.

“I anticipate that it is only councillors whose service stretches back to the 1970s who will receive higher severance.”