A COUNCILLOR has spoken out about his fellow members’ allowances and expenses - revealed in the Chronicle last month - claiming many ‘don’t do enough in their community for the amount they are paid’.

Coun Andrew Gillis, who is the newly-elected Barnsley Independent Group councillor for the Worsbrough ward, said he believes the figures - which showed that each councillor in each ward receives a basic allowance of £11,087 - does not show the full picture.

“I got this month’s wages last month which was £900, but I got taxed a lot,” he said.

“Someone like me who attends every meeting, it is not a massive amount of money. It’s ridiculous.

“I was on seven committees at a time but one is now defunct so I’m now on six committees. I don’t get paid for them but it is part of me being a councillor.

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“There are councillors who just turn up for the central area meetings and that’s it. They don’t do anything in their community and it is frustrating.”

Coun Gillis said he believes being a councillor means being within the community, meeting with residents and taking part in ward alliance and committee meetings.

“They shouldn’t have signed up for the job if they can’t attend these events,” he said.

“The attendance for some councillors is absolutely ridiculous, these councillors who don’t do enough should attend other things aside from central area meetings, like the ward alliance and there are many who don’t get involved or go to community events.

“They don’t even stay or try to get involved - some councillors are getting paid for nothing.”

Fellow councillor John Clarke, who represents Labour in the neighbouring Worsbrough Ward, said he agrees with what Coun Gillis has said, and said he is regularly busy and spends a lot of time in Worsbrough for meetings and speaking with residents.

“There are lots of things going off in the area,” he said. “I’m a backbencher so I don’t get paid more.

“People that stand for wards need to live in their areas and they need to be interested in their community.

“He (Coun Gillis) is right with what he is saying. There are some times I don’t have to do a lot but sometimes you might have three or four places to go - it’s not all 9 to 5.

“The expenses that have been revealed don’t show it all. For councillors, you only get petrol money to go to the town hall, but for someone like me, I’m not always there and I’m travelling round my ward instead.”

An article in the Chronicle at the beginning of last month revealed that councillors were collectively paid almost £969,000 in the last year in allowances and expenses.

However, the figures showed they are still being paid roughly the same amount as they were eight years ago. 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.

There are 63 councillors across the borough, with three in each ward, each receiving a basic allowance of £11,087.

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.