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Basic allowance figures revealed
Figures just released show that Bradford district’s 90 councillors are paid the second-highest basic allowance of any authority in Yorkshire.
The TaxPayers’ Alliance has collated the data from local authorities across the UK, which reveals massive differences in the basic amount paid to members.
The highest amount paid in England is by Birmingham City Council, which is the largest metropolitan district, at £16,267 for last year, while the smallest amount for the same type of authority is £6,352 in Trafford.
In Yorkshire, Leeds City Council tops the table, paying £14,781.07 last year to each of its 99 councillors. The authority is, however, the largest in the region with a population of 751,500. Bradford Council is second, paying £13,042.94 to its 90 councillors. It is the third-largest authority area in Yorkshire with a population of 522,500. Meanwhile, the second-largest local authority, Sheffield City Council, with a population of 552,700 and 84 councillors, paid £11,742.
The data also shows that two of the highest-paying authorities in Yorkshire actually reduced their basic allowance last year, with Sheffield and Rotherham taking about one per cent off. The remaining eight authorities, including all those in West Yorkshire, froze basic payments.
The TaxPayers’ Alliance has also launched an online tool which allows people to search the database at taxpayersalliance. com/councillors-allowances.
Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Many taxpayers will be surprised at how much the amount paid varies from one council to the next. People should be able to see how much cash their councillors are taking in allowances and compare the cost. This kind of transparency will allow them to decide for themselves whether they are getting good value for money.”
Councillor Imran Hussain, deputy leader of the Labour-run Council, said: “Bradford’s basic allowance is set by an independent panel and is comparable to similar large authorities.
“People quite rightly expect local councillors to be hardworking, accessible and accountable, and the job can involve a considerable amount of work and long, unsociable hours. Overall, I think the public gets value for money in terms of the councillors’ contribution to communities, but it is right that the situation is kept under regular review.
“In Bradford we are mindful of the need to show restraint, which is why basic allowances have been frozen for the last two years and we have taken action to make reductions in the allowances paid to councillors for carrying out additional responsibilities on top of their basic allowance.”
Worth Valley councillor Glen Miller, leader of the Conservatives on the Council, said: “I believe hard-working councillors give up a lot of their time working late, weekends and bank holidays to assist the residents of the district. I dare say if you turned it into an hourly rate, it wouldn’t reach the minimum wage.”
A recent review of Bradford councillors’ allowances published in July stated: “The current Bradford allowances scheme by no means over-rewards Bradford councillors. The Bradford basic allowance is in line with or lower than that of comparable councils.”
Following the independent panel findings, major changes were agreed to the allowances paid to those councillors taking on additional responsibilities to save around £100,000 a year. This included scrapping any additional payments to the leader, deputy leader and chief whip of a political group that does not hold 15 per cent or more of the membership of the Council.
This change saw the Liberal Democrats, with eight seats on the authority, lose allowances of more than £40,000.