Birmingham councillors are in line to get a £300 a year pay rise this year, due to 'increased workloads'.

The council's Independent Remuneration Panel has recommended elected members' basic allowance is increased by two per cent from £16,267-a-year to £16,592.

Birmingham City councillors are already among the the highest rewarded in the country, but they represent one of the largest local authorities in Europe and have some of the largest wards in the country.

The flat rate allowance - which assumes three days of council work a week - has not been increased for more than seven years because councillors have said they could not justify pay rises while cutting budgets and making staff redundant.

Special responsibility allowances, which range from the £50,000 per year paid to the council leader to £2,500 for a shadow cabinet member, will remain frozen.

This is how much Birmingham politicians earn

The justification for the increase is that the number of councillors is due to shrink from 120 to 101 following the local election on May 3. Each councillor will represent 8,059 residents each, up from from 7,215.

The reduction means that after the rise the total bill for basic allowances will be £276,248 a year less.

In their report, the independent panel stated that some councillors had called for an increase in their allowance of up to 23 per cent - taking their basic income to around £20,000 - but added that most of them were in favour of the 'modest' rise which has been put forward.

The report said: "The main reason for this (the two per cent increase) was to reflect the anticipated increased workloads with the reduction of the number of councillors and introduction of one and two member wards in May 2018.

"Other reasons for an increase cited included: the loss of the councillor pension scheme; the reduced support available to members from the council and the need to attract younger councillors."

Councillors maternity and paternity pay could be introduced

The panel has also recommended a parental leave policy be implemented in a bid to attract younger councillors, which would mean elected members receive their basic allowance for up to six months if they are absent for parental reasons.

That addition was particularly welcomed by members of the Business Management Committee, although some said that it reflected poorly on the parental leave policy for council staff.

Cllr Brigid Jones, deputy leader, said: "I was astonished how badly we treat women in this organisation. I would ask HR (human resources) to have a look at that. I was shocked."

She had said earlier: "I absolutely welcome the parental leave policy (for councillors). Four per cent of councils have one it is really, really welcome. I was about to say it is timely but really it is 100 years too late. But it is fantastic we have that."

Cabinet member for children's services Brigid Jones

Cllr Jones, has previously complained about the lack of maternity rights for councillors .

Council leader Ian Ward described it as a 'step in the right direction'.

The remuneration panel recommended that special responsibility allowances, such as the £50,000 councillor Ward receives for being leader as well as the £25,000 bonuses earned by cabinet members, remain frozen.

Cllr Rob Alden, leader of the Conservative group, welcomed the recommendations which will be put before the full council.

He said: "I am not surprised to see the fact the panel has picked up on the reduction of councillors.

"There will still be the same number of residents and in fact the population will increase significantly over the next 15 years."