Councillors’ allowances are simply too high

INFORMATION in the latest Northumberland News county magazine prompted me to compare our councillors’ allowances with other local authorities.

Doing the sums:

Our councillors claim a significantly higher basic allowance and responsibility allowance than other local authority councillors.

The amount paid in 2010/11 to Northumberland councillors was £1.3million and for nearby Newcastle councillors, it was £1.02million:

Northumberland councillors pay themselves a basic allowance of £12,625, whereas the amount paid to Newcastle councillors is 37per cent less at £9,215. These sums exclude travel expenses;

Our councillors receive an average annual payment of £17,142, plus travel expenses. This is £330 per week;

The leader of the county council gets £39,000 per annum, the leader of Newcastle council gets £17,000 per annum. There are many in the county on incomes less than councillors receive in expenses. There are county council staff who face losing their jobs.

It is time our councillors took the lead in these difficult financial times.

They too should take their share of the cuts that many of those they represent are having to take.

At the very least, their allowances should be on a par with those paid to other local authority councillors.

They could, of course, as happens elsewhere, donate their expenses to charity.

John Heathorn,

Royal Oak Gardens,

Alnwick