No doubt there will be lots of comment on today’s piece in the Evening Standard looking at councillors’ allowances. The table above is reproduced from the Evening Standard. I hope they will consider that fair use!
The article talks about Freedom of Information requests but you can pull the same stuff off the council’s website here so I think they are exaggerating a bit. I would be surprised if any councils don’t publish this stuff as a matter of course.
These allowances are a big expense for any council and I personally am a bit conflicted about them. I have done a lot of volunteering in my time and I would still be a councillor if there were no allowances. I know there are some people who couldn’t be a councillor if there was not some kind of allowance. They were introduced I understand because there were problems with expenses. The allowances are taxable and councillors claim no expenses as a rule. Every time they drive anywhere on council business, park, use an envelope, put a stamp on it the cash comes out of this taxable allowance. It doesn’t use it all up but by the time you have paid tax and expenses you don’t have much cash to show for it. I don’t want to sound like an old sexist (I am sure this is equally true for women councillors) but it would be much harder to justify the amount of time I spend on council and residents’ business to my wife if I didn’t have an allowance.
From this table it does look like the three Labour mayors of Newham, Lewisham and Hackney look after themselves very well. Our leader, Jason Stacey, is a bargain. He gave up a very good job to become a full time leader. You only have to look at some of the timestamps on his e-mails to know what kind of hours he works. On top of the long hours he is actually a real star. £40K really is a steal.