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Local Government Act 2003

Section 114: Paid time off for Councillors etc not to be political donations

344.Where any salary is paid to an employee by an employer in respect of time off taken in order to undertake duties as a local councillor, this section ensures that the value of the salary is not classified as a political donation under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (“PPERA”).

345.Schedule 7 to the PPERA controls donations made to a person in his or her capacity as a councillor in connection with his or her political activities. It was previously considered prior to the passing of the Local Government Act 2003, that where an employee was a councillor, and was allowed paid time off work to carry out council duties, the pay for the time off constituted a controlled donation. This ran counter to the Government’s intention that the provisions of the PPERA should not apply to the receipt by a councillor of paid time off for carrying out his or her duty as a councillor. This section provides that the value of any salary paid to an employee by an employer in respect of time taken off in order to undertake “qualifying business” as a local councillor is not a donation for the purposes of Schedule 7 to the PPERA.

346.“Qualifying business” relates to the business of the authority, whether conducted by the authority itself, its executive (or any committee or member of the executive) or any of its committees or sub-committees. Qualifying business also relates to any duties that a councillor may carry out for:

  • other bodies to which the councillor has been appointed or nominated by the council of which the councillor is a member, and

  • any public bodies to which the councillor has been appointed , whoever makes the appointment.

347.The time off for which pay does not count as a political donation is time off for a widely defined range of duties, including the doing of anything for carrying out the functions of the council to which a councillor has been elected and the doing of anything for carrying out any functions of another council where that other council has delegated the discharge of those functions to the councillor’s council.

348.The section applies retrospectively, so that any pay for time off which may have been granted to councillors since 16th February 2001, when the requirements of Schedule 7 to the PPERA came into force, is no longer considered a political donation.

349.The section extends (see section 129(5)) to England and Wales, and also to Northern Ireland and Scotland, but only partially in the latter case. For, although the section amends an earlier enactment that extends throughout the United Kingdom, a similar amendment has been made in Scotland by section 42 of the Local Government in Scotland Act 2003, which received Royal Assent on 11 February 2003. However, this Scottish Act is able to amend the earlier enactment only so far as it is part of the law of Scotland that can be amended by the Scottish Parliament. In particular, the Scottish Parliament cannot amend the law of Scotland to confer or remove functions exercisable otherwise than in or as regards Scotland. The earlier enactment, though, affects conduct throughout the United Kingdom. The section therefore amends the existing enactment, to the extent that it is part of the law of Scotland, only so far as the Scottish Parliament could not amend it. This means that the earlier enactment is fully amended throughout the United Kingdom.

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