COUNCILLORS have been collectively paid almost £1m in the last year in allowances and expenses, figures have revealed.

There are 63 councillors, three in each ward, and each receives a basic allowance of £11,309, a £222 rise on last year according to a report relating from April 2019 to March 2020.

It is only £334 more than the £10,975 they were paid nine 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.

In addition to their 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.

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Council leader Steve Houghton was paid the most at £38,948, with

deputy leader Coun Jim Andrews second at £29,265, followed by cabinet members Margaret Bruff, Tim Cheetham, Alan Gardiner, Jenny Platts and Chris Lamb.

Some councillors did not serve throughout the whole financial year, which is why their totals are lower.

Coun Steve Green - who represents the Monk Bretton ward - 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 £969,581.28 - a rise of £663.

A council statement said: “All councillors receive a basic allowance in recognition of the work they do on behalf of the community, such as representing their constituents and attending council meetings.

“Members with extra responsibilities, for example cabinet members and chairpersons of regulatory boards, also receive a ‘special responsibility allowance’ for the extra work involved.”

Councillors’ basic rates collectively topped £699,000, with extra responsibilities accounting for a further £244,000.

Barnsley Council also paid just over £10,000 in mileage allowances during the financial year, according to the report, which also shows just £283 spent on out-of-borough mileage and under £500 on out-of-borough travel expenses.

“Members are also entitled to receive a banded mileage allowance,” the statement added.

It comes after the council revealed it has six members of staff on more than £100,000 a year, a list headed by chief executive Sarah Norman, who pockets a £175,000 salary.

A further 11 people earn £95,000 a year with the local authority, according to its statement of accounts.