Hartlepool councillors paid lowest allowances in the North East, figures show

Hartlepool Civic Centre.
Hartlepool Civic Centre.

Councillors in Hartlepool receive the lowest pay rates in the region.

The town’s political representatives had a basic allowance rate of £5,825 during the last financial year.

While this is a slight increase on the £5,767 paid in 2013/14 - the figures, revealed by the TaxPayers Alliance, mean Hartlepool Borough Council has the lowest allowances in the North East.

Councillors have also been tightening their purse strings when it comes to claiming expenses which cover the likes of hotel stays and meals. In 2012/13 expenses of £7,694 were claimed, by 2013/14 this had dropped to £1,491 and even further savings were made during the last financial year bringing the total to £1,111.

A council spokesman said: “The change in 2013 in the way the council is run – from a directly-elected mayor to a system of a leader and committees – combined with the 2012 reduction in the number of wards and councillors is saving council taxpayers about £177,000 a year.

“Also, councillors agreed to freeze their basic allowance in 2009 and subsequently only agreed to accept an increase in line with any increase awarded by the Government to council employees if and when that occurred – which was not until the 1% increase in 2016.”

While the council has the lowest rate of basic allowance in the North East, Durham Council has the highest rate at £13,300 per councillor.

However, not all councils across the country have frozen their rates - or reduced them in recent years.

At least 238 councils raised the basic allowance and 208 councils raised the total bill for allowances and expenses between 2012-13 and 2014-15.

Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “It goes to show that not every council has prioritised finding savings or cutting taxes over awarding local politicians above inflation allowances. “With the nation’s finances yet to be fixed, councillors across the country will continue to have to make difficult decisions.”