Why are councillors’ allowances so high in Scotland?
Aug 2012 30

The report we released on Tuesday on councillors’ allowances showed the massive differences in allowances paid to local councillors across the country. For local authorities that carry out the same functions and have the same powers, there is a stark difference in the levels of remuneration that councillors receive. In Scotland, it is notable that councillors’ allowances are amongst the highest in the UK with each councillor receiving at least £16,000 a year for performing their duties, excluding expenses and other perks.

Unlike English councils, councillors in Scotland receive a basic annual salary of £16,234 – a figure set nationally by the Local Governance (Scotland) Act 2004 (Remuneration) Regulations 2007 after recommendation by the Scottish Local Authorities Remuneration Committee.

Scottish councils perform the same functions as an English Unitary Authority, a Metropolitan District Council or a London Borough and yet, councillors north of the border receive considerably more from the taxpayer to carry out their duties.

The level of councillor allowance is the same for every Scottish Council but do councillors in Glasgow City Council have the same demands on their time as those in the Orkney Islands?

The Scottish Government should review this anomaly and consider allowing councillors to set their own level of allowances, rather than dictating to them how much they should receive. Only then will councillors be accountable for how much they take from taxpayers each year.


Declan is a fourth year undergraduate student at the University of Aberdeen studying History.

  • ARW

    They should review this anomaly? Maybe we should review our anomaly of poor selection process and stupid ‘leave it to the inspectors’ attitude that Councils adopt; that way we would get better councillors who can actually improve their communities.
    Currently many Councillors and MPs are simply wealthy people who can afford to campaign and afford to not work.
    I want to change people lives with strong cohesive policy but I couldn’t afford to do that, cut wages for Councillors and once again a poor remuneration becomes even poorer.
    Make them really accountable and suddenly we will see their worth, but to criticise their pay simply furthers the opportunity we have in getting the best people creating and influencing our society.
    Is big business going to do that? In my experience they have no intention of being part of that process.