For the parties this Thursday is about control of town halls.  For local residents it’s about good services at a fair cost.  For most councillors it’s about the opportunity to serve their local communities but for many it’s also about increasingly generous allowances.  Figures released today by the TaxPayers’ Alliance and IsItFair show that the average local councillor receives £9,300pa in allowances.  That’s a total cost of £182m for 19,500 councillors – representing a 6% hike on last year.

Police authority membership brings in £11,000 on average and fire authority members receive £3,800.

The table on the right shows how a number of Tory-controlled councils are found in the ‘Premiership of allowances’.

Commenting on his analysis, the TPA’s Corin Taylor said:

"Families up and down the country are struggling with the demands of above-inflation council tax rises so it’s only right that they know how their money is being spent.  Before election day on thursday, people should ask their local candidates if they think that above-inflation rises in councillors’ allowances are fair and whether they will support further rises if elected."

Download a PDF
of the full TPA/ IsItFair analysis.

In a previous Platform post for ConservativeHome, Greg Hands MP has noted that many Labour councillors use these allowances for party political purposes:

"Councillors’ Allowances were controversially first introduced in 1998 in Labour-led Hammersmith & Fulham Council, which created the nine highest-paid councillors in Britain. The Council, in common with many others, claimed that the Allowances were justifiable recompense for hours spent in Council committee meetings, and were needed to attract a better quality of Council candidate… Not only have these allowances been used to fund their own re-election, but also to fund Labour Party candidates at General Elections. In the year leading up to the General Election, Hammersmith Labour Councillors used £26,000 of taxpayers money in this way. A huge amount of the Haringey Labour Group funds were used to fight the 2005 General Election in Hornsey and Wood Green."

Related link: The rise and rise of the local government fat cats

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