TaxPayers’ Alliance reveals highest and lowest paid councillors in the UK

August 29, 2012 1:10 AM

Today we can reveal for the first time the massive difference in basic allowances paid to councillors in local authorities around the UK. As part of this campaign, we have also launched a new online tool which allows people to search our comprehensive database to see for themselves how much money their local politicians are each given per year in basic allowances.

We have collated the information for every local authority in the UK for both 2010-11 and 2011-12 so that the public can see what their locally elected representatives are paid for the role, which many have viewed historically as a voluntary position.

Our findings expose considerable disparities between the basic allowance given to councillors not only across the country, but between similar authorities carrying out the same functions in nearby areas.

The councils paying the highest basic allowance to councillors (by type of authority) are:

  • English County Council – Nottinghamshire - £12,906

  • English Unitary Authority – Durham - £13,300

  • English Metropolitan District – Birmingham - £16,267

  • English Non-Metropolitan District – Bolsover - £9,902

  • London Borough – Croydon - £11,239

  • Welsh Council – Seven councils pay £13,868, namely Bridgend, Carmarthenshire, Conwy, Monmouthshire, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Torfaen, and Vale of Glamorgan

  • Scottish Council – Scottish Borders - £16,932


The councils paying the lowest basic allowance to councillors (by type of authority) are:

  • English County Council – Northamptonshire - £7,086

  • English Unitary Authority – Rutland - £3,860

  • English Metropolitan District – Trafford - £6,352

  • English Non-Metropolitan District – South Ribble - £1,500

  • London Borough – Kingston - £7,528

  • Welsh Council – Cardiff - £11,342

  • Scottish Council – Clackmannanshire - £16,100.


The five biggest increases in the basic allowance between 2010-11 and 2011-12 were:

  • Boston Borough Council: £2,378 to £3,052 – a 28 per cent increase

  • Mid Devon District Council: £3,654 to £4,500 – a 23 per cent increase

  • Slough Borough Council: £5,973 to £7,100 – a 19 per cent increase

  • North Hertfordshire District Council: £3,798 to £4,500 – a 18 per cent increase

  • Tunbridge Wells Borough Council: £4,730 to £5,279 – a 12 per cent increase


The five biggest decreases in the basic allowance between 2010-11 and 2011-12 were:

  • Tewkesbury Borough Council: £8,850 to £7,200 – a decrease of 19 per cent

  • Gedling Borough Council: £3,685 to £3,299 – a decrease of 10 per cent

  • North Lincolnshire Council: £7,638 to £6,874 – a decrease of 10 per cent

  • Three Rivers District Council: £5,090 to £4,581 – a decrease of 10 per cent

  • Castle Point Borough Council: £3,550 to £3,195 – a decrease of 10 per cent



Matthew Sinclair, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:
 “With local authorities up and down the country having to rein in spending and many public sector staff facing a pay freeze, those councillors who have awarded themselves an increase in their allowances in defiance of government advice should hang their heads in shame. They cannot retain the moral authority to make tough decisions on council spending if they believe their own allowances should be immune. Many taxpayers will be surprised at how much the amount paid varies from one council to the next. Why do Manchester councillors each need nearly £16,000 per year when their counterparts in neighbouring Trafford happily carry out their duties for barely £6,000? Local people should be able to see how much cash their councillors are taking in allowances and compare the cost with nearby councils. This kind of transparency will allow them to decide for themselves whether they are getting good value for money.”
Today we can reveal for the first time the massive difference in basic allowances paid to councillors in local authorities around the UK. As part of this campaign, we have also launched a new online tool which allows people to search our comprehensive database to see for themselves how much money their local politicians are each given per year in basic allowances.

We have collated the information for every local authority in the UK for both 2010-11 and 2011-12 so that the public can see what their locally elected representatives are paid for the role, which many have viewed historically as a voluntary position.

Our findings expose considerable disparities between the basic allowance given to councillors not only across the country, but between similar authorities carrying out the same functions in nearby areas.

The councils paying the highest basic allowance to councillors (by type of authority) are:

  • English County Council – Nottinghamshire - £12,906

  • English Unitary Authority – Durham - £13,300

  • English Metropolitan District – Birmingham - £16,267

  • English Non-Metropolitan District – Bolsover - £9,902

  • London Borough – Croydon - £11,239

  • Welsh Council – Seven councils pay £13,868, namely Bridgend, Carmarthenshire, Conwy, Monmouthshire, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Torfaen, and Vale of Glamorgan

  • Scottish Council – Scottish Borders - £16,932


The councils paying the lowest basic allowance to councillors (by type of authority) are:

  • English County Council – Northamptonshire - £7,086

  • English Unitary Authority – Rutland - £3,860

  • English Metropolitan District – Trafford - £6,352

  • English Non-Metropolitan District – South Ribble - £1,500

  • London Borough – Kingston - £7,528

  • Welsh Council – Cardiff - £11,342

  • Scottish Council – Clackmannanshire - £16,100.


The five biggest increases in the basic allowance between 2010-11 and 2011-12 were:

  • Boston Borough Council: £2,378 to £3,052 – a 28 per cent increase

  • Mid Devon District Council: £3,654 to £4,500 – a 23 per cent increase

  • Slough Borough Council: £5,973 to £7,100 – a 19 per cent increase

  • North Hertfordshire District Council: £3,798 to £4,500 – a 18 per cent increase

  • Tunbridge Wells Borough Council: £4,730 to £5,279 – a 12 per cent increase


The five biggest decreases in the basic allowance between 2010-11 and 2011-12 were:

  • Tewkesbury Borough Council: £8,850 to £7,200 – a decrease of 19 per cent

  • Gedling Borough Council: £3,685 to £3,299 – a decrease of 10 per cent

  • North Lincolnshire Council: £7,638 to £6,874 – a decrease of 10 per cent

  • Three Rivers District Council: £5,090 to £4,581 – a decrease of 10 per cent

  • Castle Point Borough Council: £3,550 to £3,195 – a decrease of 10 per cent



Matthew Sinclair, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:
 “With local authorities up and down the country having to rein in spending and many public sector staff facing a pay freeze, those councillors who have awarded themselves an increase in their allowances in defiance of government advice should hang their heads in shame. They cannot retain the moral authority to make tough decisions on council spending if they believe their own allowances should be immune. Many taxpayers will be surprised at how much the amount paid varies from one council to the next. Why do Manchester councillors each need nearly £16,000 per year when their counterparts in neighbouring Trafford happily carry out their duties for barely £6,000? Local people should be able to see how much cash their councillors are taking in allowances and compare the cost with nearby councils. This kind of transparency will allow them to decide for themselves whether they are getting good value for money.”

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