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 Criticism as most Gwent councillors' allowances ri

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T O P I C    R E V I E W
pierre Posted - 09/03/2016 : 20:05:04
Criticism as most Gwent councillors' allowances rise over last three years
Source: SouthWalesArgus

COUNCILS have been criticised for increasing member allowances each year, while continuing to cut service budgets elsewhere.

New research by the TaxPayers' Alliance reveals that across the UK, £699 million has been paid out to local councillors in allowances over the last three years.

Four out of five Gwent local authorities increased their councillor allowances, in the face of economic hardship.

Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "Taxpayers will be shocked to discover the rate at which councillors' allowances have risen over the last three years, despite local authorities pleading poverty and in many cases raising council tax or cutting services.

"It goes to show that not every council has prioritised finding savings or cutting taxes over awarding local politicians above inflation allowances."

All councillors are entitled to a basic allowance, which for Welsh councils was set at £13,300 in 2014-15, while those holding senior roles are usually entitled to special responsibility allowances (SRAs) - highest in Cardiff and Rhondda Cynon Taf with £39,700.

Members are also able to claim for expenses such as mileage and subsistence on top of this, while arrangements for IT or carers’ allowances vary from council to council.

Newport City Council's total allowances and expenses bill went from £896,842 in 2012/13 to £915,862 in 2014/15, while Monmouthshire's increased from £813,332 to £822,631.

Elsewhere, Blaenau Gwent's went up from £751,113 to £776,387, and Torfaen's total increased by a more modest amount from £796,455 to £801,094.

However, Caerphilly's total actually fell from £1,197,966 to £1,181,377 over three years.

The Welsh council with the highest total allowances and expenses paid in 2014-15 was Flintshire with a bill of £1,366,000, and the lowest bill was £589,000 on the Isle of Anglesey.

Cllr Peter Fox, leader of Monmouthshire County Council, said: “For many years councillors argued that setting rates of pay should be taken out of their hands and this was achieved when the Independent Remuneration Panel of Wales was set up in 2008.

"In addition, many councillors voluntarily forego remuneration to which they’re entitled for meals, mileage and childcare.

"The 1.1 per cent increase for allowances and expenses incurred by Monmouthshire’s councillors in the years 2012/13, 2013/14 and 2014/15 is a very modest rise and falls far short of the inflation rate for the period.

"Furthermore, the Independent Remuneration Panel of Wales has announced that councillors’ rates of pay will stand still this year.”

A Torfaen council spokesman said: "The Independent Remuneration Panel, which is an independently appointed panel created to set salary and allowance levels across local Government in Wales, raised the level of basic salary provided to Members in April 2014 which most of our elected members chose not to take."

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keanjo Posted - 11/03/2016 : 17:42:53
Fork in hell ,£18,000 a year for a part time job is pretty good and that's not including the special responsibility allowances for the Chairman, Leader, chairmen of Committees ,membership of outside bodies etc.Then on top of all this the boys can claim allowances for travelling ,accommodation and meals when on Council business. All this and a full time job can add up to a pretty penny. High time Local Government in Its present form was replaced with a different system.
fork_in_hell Posted - 11/03/2016 : 10:11:24
Originally posted by IAmNotANumber

Does anyone know how many councillors there are in Blaenau Gwent? I have counted 41 of them meaning that each of them claims over £18,000 a year just in expenses!

No its an average £18,000 a year allowances not expenses, their annual wage.

If 41 councillors were claiming £18,000 a year in expenses there would be a massive criminal investigation under way.
Daleks Posted - 10/03/2016 : 22:32:45
Council meetings webcasting on BGCBC website gives a good indication of the quality of the current councillors - some good some bad. Have a look for yourselves.
IAmNotANumber Posted - 10/03/2016 : 20:47:55
as long as they kick out the existing bunch of muppets. We need some fresh blood instead of the same old, tired, stuck in the 50s councillors.
Daleks Posted - 10/03/2016 : 19:41:53
Merging of LA's from 22 down to 6 sooner the better.

Originally posted by keanjo

We have to ask whether Local Government is sustainable in its present form

keanjo Posted - 10/03/2016 : 17:11:06
We have to ask whether Local Government is sustainable in its present form
darole Posted - 10/03/2016 : 15:29:04
The graveyard train gets bigger every year, whilst we Joe Public (the voter) gets less .
There must be logic to it somewhere however I can't find it !!!
IAmNotANumber Posted - 10/03/2016 : 14:25:41
Does anyone know how many councillors there are in Blaenau Gwent? I have counted 41 of them meaning that each of them claims over £18,000 a year just in expenses!

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