Councillors’ £157,000 of allowances

Margaret Smith
Margaret Smith

More than £157,000 was paid out to councillors in South Ribble in the last financial year.

The authority’s 54 members claimed the sum for their work in the borough in the past 12 months.

The figure is down on last year’s amount of over 168,000.

Councillors do not earn a salary but do receive allowances to help meet the cost of carrying out their duties.

This includes a basic allowance of £1500 per year paid to all councillors, plus special responsibility allowances of up to £15,000 for the posts they hold.

On top of this, travel costs and other expenses can be claimed.

Top claimant was leader Coun Margaret Smith, who was paid £16,600, followed by last year’s Mayor Coun David Suthers, who claimed £8,901.

The level of allowance paid is set by an independent panel, but the council has chosen not to increase this for the last 10 years.

The does make it the lowest in Lancashire, and one of the lowest in the country.

Coun Stephen Robinson, cabinet member for finance and resources, said: “Over the past three years as everybody has been facing economic difficulties we haven’t raise the allowances even though it was recommended they be substantially increased.”

Basic allowance costs for all councillors came out at over £80,000, with a further £71,000 for special responsibilities.

Costs were saved on last year’s figure partly by reducing the cabinet size from eight people to six, by removing Coun Peter Mullineaux and Coun Michael Green, who were responsible for environmental and green issues and corporate and support services respectively.

Coun Mullineaux was reinstated in the cabinet as deputy council leader in May’s local elections.

Despite attempts in 2008 to raise the basic allowance from £1500 to £3400, council bosses said the wouldn’t seek to raise the amount because of the tough economic situation facing residents.

Top claimants at the council for travel and expenses were Coun Dorothy Gardner, who claimed £217, Coun Kath Beattie who claimed £189, and Coun Caroline Moon, who claimed £188.