Councillors’ allowances will top one million
Date published: 19 March 2018
Councillor Allen Brett
Councillors’ allowances now total £75,000 per month or £900,000 per year; with National Insurance contributions on top, the total for 2018 will be over £1,000,000.
The figures, obtained in a Freedom of Information request by local resident Carl Faulkner, reveal the impact of the increase in allowances councillors awarded themselves in December 2016.
Lib Dem councillors Andy Kelly and Irene Davidson voted against the rises and refused the increase.
Councillor Kelly, Rochdale Lib Dem leader, said: “Councillors’ allowances is the only budget item to actually increase during these austerity years. The people of Rochdale need to know the reality of what councillors voted for themselves.”
Labour councillors Andy Bell, Malcolm Borriss, Chris Furlong and Billy Sheerin also refused the increase.
However, Labour councillor Aasim Rashid, from Castleton, who promised, “I’m not taking even a single penny increase in my allowance”, took the increase.
Councillor Allen Brett, now the leader of the Council, also promised not to take all the increase, but accepted the increased basic allowance.
Councillor Brett previously said: “Individual councillors can accept the recommendations made by the panel or they can refuse all or part. I will not be accepting some of mine.”
Councillor Kelly added: “I’d like to thank Mr Faulkner for uncovering this spend as we approach the May council elections. Usually, figures are published in June, a month after local elections.
“People can make up their own minds now with all the facts in front of them.”
A council spokesman said: “All councils are required under local government regulations to periodically review the amount of money they pay to councillors.
"The allowances our councillors receive had effectively been frozen for eight years.
"Councillors cannot, by law, set their own allowances.
"A report written by an independent panel made it clear that the council’s allowance levels had fallen well below the Greater Manchester average, and were the second-lowest in the region.
"The independent panel’s new recommended basic allowance for our councillors is still below the average in Greater Manchester. Details of all allowances paid to councillors are published on the council’s website.”
Councillor Rashid said: "I am investigating with the Council's HR department and will issue a statement in due course."
Councillor Brett did not respond to an invitation to comment.