North Somerset councillors’ expenses revealed

PUBLISHED: 06:31 25 June 2018

The town hall.

The town hall.

Archant

More than £650,000 in allowances and expenses were claimed by North Somerset councillors last year.

Figures for the 2017/18 financial year have been obtained by the Mercury and show the amount each of North Somerset councillors claimed.

All elected members are entitled to a basic allowance of £8,542, in return for an expected 24.5 hours a week work.

However, councillors receive extra money if they take on other roles, for example being the council leader, chairman of a committee or a member of the executive. Such positions are entitled to special responsibility allowances.

All councillors can also claim any expenses they occur through their duties, such as travel costs.

Leader Nigel Ashton received the largest financial package, taking home £41,339, of which almost £27,000 was a bonus for his position’s seniority.

The amount members received in expenses has almost doubled in the past two years.

In 2015/16, about £12,000 was claimed by members for travel, food and accommodation, but this figure rose to £21,365 for the year ending on March 31.

Seven councillors received more than £25,000 in allowances and expenses, while almost half took home at least £10,000.

Only one member did not claim any allowances or expenses last year – Clevedon East’s David Shopland.

Councillors’ allowances are reviewed every four years, with the last time being in 2016. Then, an independent panel recommended members were given a 14 per cent rise in their basic allowance – worth approximately £1,100 – but councillors voted against increasing their own financial reward.

Members of town and parish councillors receive no basic allowances.*

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