Cost of democracy rises to £221,000
COUNCILLORS have claimed more than £200,000 in allowances and expenses over a 12-month period, it emerged this week. Figures from North Herts District Council revealed that the cost of democracy to elected members was £221,497 in a period from May 2006 to
COUNCILLORS have claimed more than £200,000 in allowances and expenses over a 12-month period, it emerged this week.
Figures from North Herts District Council revealed that the cost of democracy to elected members was £221,497 in a period from May 2006 to April 2007.
Each councillor receives a basic allowance of more than £3,000 and is allowed to claim expenses for working on council business.
But Cllr Fiona Hill, chairman of the district council's Royston area committee, told The Crow: "I don't believe there is any elected member who becomes a councillor for the money. It's certainly not done for the money.
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"It has to be stressed that the district council's scheme is one of the lowest in the country," she said.
"We don't even seem to claim for everything by any stretch of the imagination.
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"We don't claim for nearly as much as we could do."
She said: "There are numerous events and numerous occasions when councillors end up spending out of their own pocket."
Cllr Hill said: "To be honest it is debatable whether any money is made out of it because by the time you've paid everything.
"It's not supposed to be a profit-making fund, it's supposed to cover costs."
In 2007-08, the allowance for the leader of the council will increase to £6,912 with the addition of an increased basic allowance of £3,476.
There will be an increase, too, in the responsibility allowances to committee chairmen.
Elsewhere, the basic allowance for members is from almost £3,000 on South Beds District Council and £4,461 on Maidstone Borough Council while the leader on South Beds District Council receives almost £9,000-a-year and on Maidstone Borough Council more than £22,000.
- In 2006-07, the cost of allowances and expenses to members of Herts County Council was more than £1.1 million with county councillors receiving a basic allowance of £9,125.
The leader of the county council, Cllr David Beatty, received an allowance and expenses to the total of £42,899.