Isle of Wight Councillors received £474,488 in allowances and expenses last year — an increase of more than £13,000 compared with the previous year.
According to the 2018/19 figures, which have just been published, councillors received £314,160 in basic allowances, £130,725 in special responsibility allowances — awarded to councillors who hold senior roles, such as cabinet members and committee chairs — and £28,880 in expenses.
Two per cent rise in allowances
Councillors will also receive a two per cent rise this year in allowances. In 2018/19, councillors were entitled to a basic allowance of £7,854. From 1st April this year, that has risen to £8,011.
The special responsibility allowance has also risen from £7,854 to £8,011.
All councillors are entitled to claim expenses for travel and subsistence. Childcare expenses are also available, but no councillors claimed them last year.
£1,000 more for leader
Council leader Cllr Dave Stewart received the biggest payout last year — £1,000 more than the previous year. He received £26,406, which included his basic allowance, a £15,708 special responsibility allowance as council leader and travel expenses of almost £3,000.
Deputy leader Cllr Stuart Hutchinson received £18,835.
Eleven councillors received more than £15,000 — including cabinet members Cllrs Clare Mosdell and Ian Ward, who received more than £17,500 each.
Cllr Mosdell also claimed more than £400 for hotel accommodation — one of only three councillors to do so. Cllr Stewart and cabinet member Cllr Paul Brading also claimed £73 and £98 for hotel accommodation, respectively.
Cllr Vanessa Churchman, the ward member for Havenstreet, Ashey and Haylands, claimed £1,681 in travel expenses — the fourth largest amount — even though she does not hold a senior role. She attributed her expenses to attending events on behalf on Cllr Ward when he was unwell.
Indies took cut in allowances
When the Island Independents were in charge at County Hall, councillors agreed to take a pay cut.
Since then, allowances have risen steadily.
This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some alterations and additions may be been made by OnTheWight. Ed