Allowances and expenses reviewed at Northumberland County Council for first time since 2015

Pay for decision-makers in Northumberland could be in line for an overhaul.

By James Harrison
Friday, 3rd September 2021, 7:10 am
Councillor expenses and allowance limits are under the microscope.
Councillor expenses and allowance limits are under the microscope.

Bosses at Northumberland County Council have agreed to review the allowances paid out to councillors for the first time in six years.

The decision paves the way for the scheme to be examined by an independent panel, which will then recommend whether it thinks payments should stay the same or be increased.

And after the proposed members of the committee said they were willing to get to work quickly, suggestions for any changes could be ready in time for the next full meeting of the county council, currently scheduled for November.

According to a report for the local authority: “The Members’ Allowance Scheme has not been reviewed since 2015 and is due for review as there are a number of relevant matters which could affect the scheme.

Every county councillor in Northumberland is eligible for a basic allowance worth £14,379 a year, which is among the highest in the North East.

An additional ‘special responsibility allowance’ is also available to councillors in senior positions, such as leader, cabinet member, or chairman of a committee.

“It is something that will look at everything,” said council chairman Barry Flux after being asked whether the review would consider changing lifestyles, such as increased use of electric cars and how it might affect claims for travel expenses.

“Life changes, five years ago none of us had electric cars, a lot of us still don’t have electric cars now [but might in the future].”