Council expenses top £700,000

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THE amount of money paid to Calderdale councillors and co-opted members went up slightly during the last financial year by about £6,000 to £712,431.

But it is expected to fall this year – councillors have voted for a five per cent pay cut.

The annual list of allowances, shows the largest amount went to Calderdale Council leader Janet Battye (Lid, Dem, Calder) who received £37,316.

Deputy leader Tim Swift (Lab, Town) earned £23,655.

All councillors were entitled to a basic allowance of £9,994 and some received slightly more because they accepted an inflationary hike two years earlier.

Councillors with extra responsibilities were entitled to considerably more, including cabinet members Barry Collins, Bob Metcalfe, Peter Wardhaugh, Pauline Nash, and ex-councillors Olwen Jennings and David O’Neill.

Conservative group leader Stephen Baines (Northowram and Shelf) received special responsibility allowances worth £14,652, taking his pay to £24,716. Independent group leader Colin Raistrick received an extra £1,499.

The biggest claims for travel allowances went to Todmorden ward councillors Olwen Jennings (£1,399) and Ruth Goldthorpe (£943).

Nader Fekri (Lib-Dem, Calder), who last month became Mayor of Calderdale, was the only councillor to claim a childcare allowance last year, worth £120.

Ten of the 12 lay people and experts co-opted on to committees were paid between £344 and £360, with the Vicar of Halifax, Hilary Barber, getting an extra £7,496 for chairing the council standards committee.

Some councillors have been paid up to £13,000 for representing the council on outside bodies.

Roger Taylor received £13,067 for attending West Yorkshire Police Authority meetings.

Robert Pearson got £12,266 for serving on the executive board of West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Authority.

l Are the councillors great value for money? Should they get more? E-mail us: yoursay@halifaxcourier.co.uk