How pay for city councillors in Sunderland stacks up against the rest of the North East
Payments to city councillors on Wearside are expected to be frozen for another year after bosses promised to reject recommendations for a raise.
Under current rules, every member of Sunderland City Council (SCC) is entitled to claim a minimum “basic allowance” of £8,369 every year.
And this figure looks set to remain among the lowest in the North East, with seven of the region’s local authorities handing out more.
The amount on offer to city council representatives has remained unchanged since 2012, with representatives of all parties expected to formally reject a suggested 2% increase later this year.
And this figure is also thought to be well below levels seen elsewhere in the country.
What are council allowances?
All councillors elected to English local authorities are entitled to claim a basic allowance to help them cover the costs of their day-to-day duties.
There is also the potential for senior representatives to claim more on top of this in “Special Responsibility Allowance”, reflecting additional roles they may take on, such as leader of the council or chairman of a committee.
Cash is also on offer to cover some expenses for travel, phone and internet bills, as well as a carer's allowance.
How does Sunderland compare to other North East councils?
Sunderland pays the eighth lowest basic allowance out of the North East’s 12 local authorities and the second lowest in Tyne and Wear.
Northumberland and County Durham both pay the highest while Middlesbrough offers the least.
The £8,369 a year paid to city councillors on Wearside is also below both the North East average of £9,808 and the Tyne and Wear average of £9,432.
Northumberland County Council - £14,379
Durham County Council - £13,300
Gateshead Council - £11,279
North Tyneside Council - £10,643
Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council - £9,813
Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council - £9,300
Newcastle City Council - £9,200
Sunderland City Council - £8,369
Hartlepool Borough Council - £8,330
Darlington Borough Council - £8,188
South Tyneside Council - £7,667
Middlesbrough Council - £7,608
Are there any plans to increase the money paid by Sunderland City Council?
Despite a formal recommendation to do so from an independent panel set up to consider councillor expenses, the city council has ruled out any increases for now.
This will leave payments frozen at the same level they were almost 10 years ago, a move which has cross party support within the local authority.
“During a time when residents face such hardship and when every penny has to be channelled into frontline services, these proposals will be outright rejected by the Labour group and not recommended to full council,” said Graeme Miller, leader of SCC.
He added: “Sunderland’s councillor allowances are low compared with similar sized councils – it cannot be right that at a time of such crisis, we increase allowances.
“We absolutely recognise the huge value that members can bring to their community – something I think has come to the fore more than ever in recent months – but we stand in solidarity with residents, many of whom have been heavily impacted by this crisis.”