By Tim Montgomerie
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A new survey by the TaxPayers' Alliance reveals big differences between the level of basic allowance received by different councillors. Councillors representing the Scottish Borders, for example, receive £16,932 per year while those in Tory South Ribble receive just £1,500.
According to this morning's Today programme 80% of allowances have been cut or frozen since they were last set but the TPA reveals five inflation-busting councils that top the league for not recognising the age of austerity:
- Boston Borough Council: £2,378 to £3,052 – allowances up 28%
- Mid Devon District Council: £3,654 to £4,500 – allowances up 23%
- Slough Borough Council: £5,973 to £7,100 – allowances up 19%
- North Hertfordshire District Council: £3,798 to £4,500 – allowances up 18%
- Tunbridge Wells Borough Council: £4,730 to £5,279 – allowances up 12%
Commenting on the figures, Matt Sinclair, the new CEO 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.”
More here (PDF).