Councillors’ allowances and expenses cost Northumberland taxpayers just under £1.35million in 2017-18, which was down from the previous year.
The latest register has just been published and shows that members’ allowances totalled £1,298,790.54 between April 1, 2017, and March 31, 2018, representing a £35,000 fall from the same period in 2016-17.
Every year, a basic allowance is paid to each of Northumberland’s 67 county councillors.
In addition to this, a special responsibility allowance is paid to a number of councillors, including the leader, deputy leader, cabinet members, the chairmen and vice-chairmen of some committees, and opposition party leaders and party secretaries.
Last year, the basic allowance increased from £13,161 to £13,329. Combined with the fact that last May’s election meant there was a change of councillors in some wards during the financial year, this saw the total bill rise by about £17,000.
However, the total for special responsibility allowances dropped significantly last year, from £457,000 to £402,000, meaning the overall allowances bill was lower by around £38,000.
Councillors are also able to claim expenses for travel – mileage, public transport or taxi fares – and subsistence.
The mileage bill for 2017-18 was £44,936.39, an increase of around £2,000 on the previous year, while other expenses totalled around £3,000.
The mileage claims of individual councillors ranged from zero to almost £4,000, with most of the larger bills unsurprisingly coming from councillors in wards in the more distant north and west of the county.
The latest register of allowances and expenses can be viewed online at https://tinyurl.com/y8gjpcx3
Allowances are set by an independent remuneration panel. All the numbers produced are gross figures with allowances being subject to tax.
Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service