Newham Councillors Paid More Than £1.2 million in Allowances

21 Sep

Last week the Newham Recorder published a story headlined Newham councillors getting £25k each expenses, claiming that the average councillor received £24,333 to service their wards.

The story also stated that “the basic allowance for councillors newly elected last year was reduced to £9,579.”

It is a sad reflection on local journalism in Newham that neither claim is quite correct. 

The £24,333 average applies if you only count the 40 members of the council who served the full 12 months from April 1 2010 to March 31 2011. It completely ignores those who left the council at the May election and those who joined after it. This tends to inflate the average, as those 40 councillors were generally more senior. 

The basic allowance, sadly, hasn’t gone down. The reason new councillors only got £9,579 was that they didn’t serve a whole year and therefore only received a pro rata portion of the allowance.

There are plenty of reasons to attack the mayor and his cronies for their free-and-easy attitude to taking home our money, but the Newham Recorder does none of us any favours by getting the numbers wrong.

So if the Recorder got it wrong, what is the truth about councillors’ allowances?

Well, in the year ending 31 March 2011 the 61 members of the council (the mayor and 60 councillors*) collected a total of £1,221,752 in allowances and expenses. This works out at an average of £20,029 per member.

But even this doesn’t really tell the full story, as some councillors get far more than others as a result of “special responsibilities”. The top 10 earners in 2010/11 were:

  • RA WALES   80,695
  • AR BAIKIE   49,776
  • IK CORBETT   42,811
  • RJ CRAWFORD   42,811
  • U  DESAI           41,776
  • C  McAULEY   41,776
  • A  KELLAWAY   37,002
  • JH LAGUDA   33,499
  • EH SPARROWHAWK 32,809
  • CW FURNESS 32,231

Councillor Baikie’s allowance includes an additional special payment for serving 2 six-month terms as deputy mayor.

The full report on members’ allowances in 2010/11 can be found here: http://goo.gl/EGDP7

When looking at the above figures it is worth remembering, for context, that average income for a household in Newham is £27,600 a year.

_________________________________________

* That is 60 ‘full-time equivalents’ made up of 39 people who served a full year, 21 who served 1 April to the May election and 21 new councillors who took over their seats and served from the May election to 31 March.

 

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One Response to “Newham Councillors Paid More Than £1.2 million in Allowances”

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  1. Snouts in the trough – 2015 edition | forestgatedotnet - July 27, 2015

    […] 2011 edition – “Newham Councillors Paid More Than £1.2 million in Allowances” […]

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