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Thursday, 17 April 2014

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Cumbria county councillors among lowest paid in country

Councillors in Cumbria are among the lowest paid in the country, new figures show.

Eddie Martin photo
Eddie Martin

The Taxpayers’ Alliance, which campaigns against wasteful spending, has today published a national survey of councillors’ allowances.

This is the annual payment to compensate councillors for giving up their time.

It varies widely from one local authority to another.

Cumbria County Council pays £8,030. Only two other county authorities – Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire – pay less, £7,610 and £7,086 respectively.

Many pay considerably more. Nottinghamshire was the highest on £12,906.

Local authorities in Scotland are more generous still. In unitary Dumfries and Galloway, each councillor gets £16,236.

Conservative Eddie Martin, leader of Cumbria County Council, said: “I am pleased we are amongst the lowest.

“We haven’t increased our allowances for three years.

“We feel strongly that, while we’re making staff redundant and freezing the pay of others it would be iniquitous for councillors to give themselves a pay rise.

“What we spend on councillors’ allowances impacts on services and on the level of council tax.

“My mission is to keep the council tax as low as possible.”

District councils have fewer responsibilities so their allowances tend be lower.

Again, Cumbrian districts are towards the bottom of the pay table.

Allerdale pays £2,966, Barrow £2,348, Carlisle £4,733, Copeland £3,063, Eden £3,561 and South Lakeland £3,880.

Nationally, the highest allowance paid by a district is £9,902 at Bolsover in Derbyshire whilst the lowest is £1,500 at South Ribble in Lancashire.

In most cases, an independent remuneration panel recommends the level of allowances, although councillors have the final say.

Those with special responsibilities, such as the leader and cabinet members, get extra payments and all can reclaim out-of-pocket expenses such as mileage and meals.

South Lakeland was the only Cumbrian local authority to increase allowances in 2011-12.

Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: “With local authorities having to rein in spending, those councillors who have awarded themselves an increase 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.”

Although Cumbrian councillors generally get less than their counterparts elsewhere, there are a lot of them.

The two-tier system of county and district councils means Cumbria has 371 councillors to serve 500,000 people.

Have your say

There is obviously a lot of truth in what you are saying but there are many councillors out here who evidently have the time to pick up two remuneration pakages and serve more than one council. If someone is elected to serve as my county representative, and paid accordingly, should they be permitted to stand and serve for another position?

Posted by Puzzled on 20 September 2012 at 10:06

Elo, councillors dont receive salaries, so that would be £0

Posted by Bob on 19 September 2012 at 11:37

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