Cambridge City Councilllor Allowances

Cambridge City Council has recently published details of the allowances paid to its councillors in the year up to the end of March. Here’s the data:

The coloured block next to each councillor’s name shows their party. Councillors all receive a Basic allowance, plus a Special Responsibility allowance which is supposed to reflect their workload, and varies depending on the committees they sit on, with an extra amount for Group leaders. In addition, councillors can claim for childcare costs and certain other expenses (the details are here).

What can we see from the graph? The amounts of Basic allowance vary a bit; this is mainly due to councillors leaving or joining the council at the May 2010 elections. Also, Cllr Owers replaced Cllr Howell in Coleridge part-way through the year after a by-election.

The amount of Special Responsibility allowances vary a lot more. Top of the list is council leader Sian Reid, followed by other members of the Lib-Dem-run Executive. Labour leader Lewis Herbert and (former) Green leader Margaret Wright are also fairly highly placed. The lone Independent councillor, John Hipkin, is some way down the table – there was some controversy recently about whether he should receive an additional Special Responsibility allowance.

Only one councillor, Cllr Taylor, claimed for childcare costs. The claims for travel, subsistence & expenses (which were mainly for travel) were also relatively small.

Councillors do not receive any salary in addition to their allowances, and their Basic and Special Responsibility allowances are taxable. It’s interesting to compare the total allowances of just under £14,000 received by Sian Reid, the council leader, with the £168,587.16 paid to Cambridge MP Julian Huppert for his salary, staff costs, and other expenses.

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3 Responses to Cambridge City Councilllor Allowances

  1. Ian Manning says:

    Phil. I think it is a little disingenuous to use the phrase “high paid” in relation to payments, which even for the maximum, are well below £15k a year! 😉

  2. Phil Rodgers says:

    I didn’t say “high paid”, I said “highly placed”, referring to position in the list, not the actual amount.

  3. During a council debate on these allowances and expenses Cllr Rosenstiel pointed out a problem in that travel paid for by the council doesn’t get included.

    I recall his argument was (and this was in relation to a previous year’s expenses) that he took great care to get value for public money and arranged his own train travel using cheap tickets, and then put in an expenses claim. This meant he had travel expenses on his public record; whereas other councillors got the council to arrange their travel, (he mentioned “travel warrants”) which cost taxpayers more, but didn’t appear on the published expenses.

    There are also additional perks such as free car parking in council car parks, free tea, coffee and hot chocolate, access to the members room (which may be stocked with newspapers?), as well as publicly funded meals at all full council meetings and some committees.

    I obtained some information on car park usage at:
    http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/councillors_expenses_and_allowan

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