Embargoed: 00:01 Saturday 19 December 2020
New research by the TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA) reveals that £255 million was paid out to local councillors in allowances in 2018-19, a £4 million increase on the previous year.
The highest councillor allowances in the UK are in Scotland, with a basic allowance of £16,994 each set by the Scottish remuneration panel and paid to 26 of the 32 Scottish councils. Northern Irish and Welsh councils also have a maximum allowance, set at £14,775, and £13,600 respectively. The UK’s lowest basic allowance was paid by Torbay, which was reduced by 92 per cent from £8,249 in 2017-18 to £687 the following year.
In England, the highest councillor allowance was paid by Manchester city council at £16,926. All members received this amount including the leader of the council Sir Richard Leese, who received an additional £42,272 in special responsibility allowance. His allowance amounts to more than two and a half times the median earnings in Manchester. However, in neighbouring Trafford, councillors receive over £10,000 less at £6,492.
The report exposes the considerable disparities between the basic allowance given to councillors not only across the country but also between authorities carrying out the same functions in nearby areas. With council budgets under pressure, the paper highlights the importance of keeping excessive allowance payments under control.
The total sum of all councillor allowance payments made in the UK in 2018-19 was £255 million. This was an increase of 1.8 per cent from 2017-18, when the figure was £251 million.
The highest basic allowance in the UK in 2018-19 was set by the Scottish remuneration panel at £16,994 for all Scottish local authorities. Of the 32 councils, 26 Scottish authorities paid the maximum basic allowance to their councillors.
The highest basic allowance for councillors in England in 2018-19 was £16,926, paid by Manchester city council. This was paid to all members of the council including Sir Richard Leese - the leader of Manchester city council. He also received an additional £42,272 in special responsibility allowance. The total payment he received was more than two and a half times median earnings in Manchester during 2019.
The highest basic allowance in Northern Ireland in 2018-19 was set by the Department for Communities at £14,775 for all Northern Irish local authorities. Of the ten councils, eight Northern Irish authorities paid the maximum basic allowance to their councillors.
The highest basic allowance in Wales in 2018-19 was set by the Welsh remuneration panel at £13,600 for all Welsh local authorities. Of the 21 councils, 18 Welsh authorities paid the maximum basic allowance to their councillors.
The highest basic allowance for a unitary council in England in 2018-19 was £14,189, paid by Cornwall.
The lowest basic allowance for councillors in the UK in 2018-19 was £687, paid by Torbay.
The highest special responsibility allowance in the UK in 2018-19 was £82,620 paid by Newham. This was a £781 increase from 2017-18 for the directly elected mayor.
- The lowest special responsibility allowance made in the UK in 2018-19 was £2,333, also paid by Torbay.
John O’Connell, chief executive the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:
"Taxpayers will be surprised to discover how much councillor allowances vary from one council to the next.
"Not every local authority has prioritised finding savings or cutting taxes over awarding local politicians excessive payments.
“With the country facing a deep recession, councillors must keep down their taxpayer-funded allowances to ease the burden on hard-pressed households.”
TPA spokesmen are available for live and pre-recorded broadcast interviews via 07795 084 113 (no texts)
Media Campaign Manager, TaxPayers' Alliance
24-hour media hotline: 07795 084 113 (no texts)
Notes to editors:
Founded in 2004 by Matthew Elliott and Andrew Allum, the TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA) campaigns to reform taxes and public services, cut waste and speak up for British taxpayers. Find out more at www.taxpayersalliance.com.
TaxPayers' Alliance's advisory council.
- The TaxPayers’ Alliance releases the annual Town Hall Rich List. The latest report showed at least 2,667 people employed by local authorities received more than £100,000.