ALMOST 60% of Scotland’s councillors have a second job including three posties, two hypnotists and a vet, a data investigation by The National has found.

We previously told how more than 120 councillors are employed as staffers for MSPs and MPs, with 26 out of 31 local authorities (83%) in our analysis having at least one representative taking on an additional party role.

The National created a data set from information contained in the registers of interests of 1192 councillors from 31 local authorities. Falkirk is excluded as the information is not available on the authority’s website, and they did not respond to our request for clarification.

An analysis of the registers contents found 701 (58.85%) councillors have at least one additional job, while 455 (38.2%) do not, 37 (3%) had no register entry or were unclear.

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The most popular job category was political staffers (124), with 20 of those taking on a third paid role. One staffer who works for an SNP MSP is also employed by the Scottish Police Authority (SPA); another is a paid referee with the Scottish Football Association (SFA), and another a photographer. One MP employee is also a freelance journalist, another a bank nurse, and five staffers are also self-employed.

We told how the Scottish Greens argued that political parties are more likely to be understanding with flexibility and the late hours required in council chambers and out in the community. Supporting this argument is our analysis finding that being self-employed (104 councillors) was the second most popular job category.

Involvement in the business world is also common, with 83 councillors disclosing a directorship, 31 owning and operating a business and 15 in finance, accounting and HR.

While typically female dominated sectors health (45) and education (35) are also popular secondary employment options, men account for 60% as there is a higher proportion of male councillors overall. Women face additional barriers to elected office, being more likely to have parenting and caring responsibilities.

We also found that two councillors are employed as hypnotists; one for entertainment purposes and the other in a therapeutic capacity. There are three councillors employed by the Royal Mail as postal workers, two who work as driving instructors, and one Justice of the Peace.

A further two councillors work for Amazon, six are farmers or own at least one farm and one owns a pub.

The council with the highest number of representatives with a second job was Glasgow (55), followed by Fife (43), and Highland (42). However, when we analysed this on a percentage basis for each local authority, only three authorities had less than a 50% secondary employment rate – Inverclyde (47.4%), East Ayrshire (46.8%) and South Ayrshire (35.7%).

Twelve local authorities had between 50-59%, seven between 60-99% and six between 70-79%. Angus had the highest with 82.1%, (23/28).

Research conducted by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) found representatives work 38 hours plus per week but are still struggling to make ends meet. They want councillors to be paid a Real Living Wage (£10.50), as a minimum.

THE Scottish Local Authority Remuneration Committee (SLARC) is due to reconvene early next year to investigate the issue “in detail, Cosla hoping that it will spark some movement towards a raise for councillors which are more “realistic”.

Arianne Burgess, local democracy spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, said: “Councillors are being paid a part-time wage for doing a full-time job. At present, councillors are underpaid and often under-appreciated by a system that does not always recognise the vital work that they do.”

Perth and Kinross councillor Peter Barret said that the salary is “simply not enough” as a main household income, which adds as a barrier to many standing for election, particularly those who are younger.

“The result is an ageing cohort of retired councillors and a detrimental impact on diversity. Councillors having other jobs can also have benefits for local authorities as councillors are able to bring a variety of perspectives to council business,” the LibDem local government spokesperson added.

Our analysis found that 60% of both male (458) and female (243) councillors have a second job, while 40% don’t.

The need for councillors to take on extra employment can also exclude minority groups, women, particularly single parents of which they are majority, and those who have caring responsibilities, are particularly underrepresented, as a Scottish Government survey from earlier this year found. Three councillors disclosed paid care work, while three others are foster carers.

Marion Davis, director of policy at One Parent Families Scotland (OPFS), pointed to the research which showed only 22% of councillors are parents. She said: “Single-parent families are at high risk of poverty, precisely because single parents are concentrated in lower-paid, part-time work.

“This is because balancing sole caring responsibilities with full-time work can be extremely challenging, and especially so when support from extended family is not available.

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“Most single parents quite simply could not consider taking on a second job if they were elected as a councillor, so the fact that councillors are paid so little that this is necessary is a clear barrier to those who aren’t able to supplement their income.”

Barrett, a LibDem councillor added: “There is no doubt that there are considerable barriers to getting involved with local politics and more needs to be done to open the door to those from a wider range of backgrounds.”

Cosla argued that a more “realistic” salary reflecting the role could possibly encourage more women to stand.

“We have done a great deal of work in removing barriers to elected office and payment of Councillors plays out very strongly in this work as a reason for women in particular choosing not to stand for election,” a spokesperson for the umbrella body said.

The Scottish Government was contacted for comment.