Councillors have been paid collectively almost £969,000 in the last year in allowances and expenses, but are still being paid roughly the same as they were eight years ago, the figures reveal.
There are 63 councillors, three in each ward, and each receives a basic allowance of £11,087. This was an increase of two per cent on the year before, but it is only £112 more than the £10,975 they were paid eight years previously.
Back then, in response to huge budget cuts from central government, councillors voted to cut their own pay by five per cent, and it didn’t increase at all until 2015/16. Last year their pay still remained lower than the 2011 figure, but the two per cent rise has finally seen the allowance surpass its 2011 peak.
In addition to this basic allowance, some councillors receive special responsibility pay for carrying out extra duties, such as serving on the council’s ruling cabinet, or chairing committees such as planning or licensing.
Council leader Steve Houghton was paid the most at £38,383, which included a total of £575.40 in expenses, all of it for travel.
Deputy leader Coun Jim Andrews was second at just over £28,834, including £378.60 in travel expenses.
Some councillors did not serve throughout the whole financial year, which is why their totals are lower. There were 16 councillors who did not claim any expenses over their basic allowance and special responsibility pay.
Of those, ten councillors only received their basic allowance.
Coun Steve Green - last year’s mayor - receives almost six per cent less in allowances than the rest of his colleagues. He has refused any increase in allowance since he was elected onto the council so still receives £10,426.
The total paid to all councillors in allowances and expenses for the financial year to March 31 this year was £968,917.89 - this works out at 2.3 per cent increase on the total paid last year.