Councillors’ allowance is biggest in the land

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DURHAM County councillors are paid more in expenses than any other of its kind in the country, it was claimed today.

The 126 elected members receive a basic allowance of £13,300 a year, more than any other unitary authority in England, according to the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA).

The highest basic allowance paid in England is £16,267 by Birmingham City Council, with the lowest £1,500, paid by South Ribble, in Lancashire.

The figure in Sunderland was £8,369, up from £8,043 the previous year.

TPA chief executive Matthew Sinclair, said: “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.”

Colette Longbottom, Durham’s head of democratic services, said: “Members’ allowances are set on recommendations made by an Independent Review Panel.

“The scheme for allowances for the new unitary authority was agreed in 2009 and followed the recommendations of the panel.

“The panel has considered the scheme each year since then and has recommended no changes.”