Posted: 10.09.20 at 09:05 by Nick Hudson
TRAVEL expenses for members of the Atherstone-based borough council have more than doubled in the past 12 months, it has emerged
Councillors’ mileage claims for the period April 2019 to the end of March this year shot up from £2,691 to £5,679.25, a report to the authority’s Resources Board confirms.
And overall payments to North Warwickshire members rose by five per cent in the same timeframe from £221,332.63 to £232,738.16.
Actual allowances increased by 2.4 per cent year on year from £176,998.54 to £181,263.74.
There was also an uptick in the number of claimants in what was a local election year, the report revealed. That figure went up from 36 to 49 with the crossover of councillors ending their terms of office.
Outgoing council leader David Humphreys, who stepped down in March through ill health, was the highest earner as £16,609.93 which included a ‘special responsibility’ payment of £11,430.97 for his various duties at the authority’s leading councillor.
Planning and Development Board chairman Mark Simpson was second on the list in monetary terms with £11,502.42 – claiming a normal members’ allowance plus one for being a committee head.
Councillor David Wright – who took over as the authority’s leader a week into Covid-19 lockdown and right at the end of the 2019/20 financial year – was in third spot with an allowance payment of £10,363.92.
In the same period the Consumer Price Index rose by 0.8 per cent and the CPI-1 month inflation rate was negative at -0.2 per cent in April 2020 compared with 0.6 per cent the previous year.
Estimated annual growth in average weekly earnings for employees in Great Britain was 2.8 per cent for total pay (including bonuses) and 2.9 per cent for regular pay (excluding bonuses).
Pay continued to grow faster than inflation, but thes rate of growth has slowed since mid-2019.
In real terms – after adjusting for inflation – annual growth last year was estimated to be 1.2 per cent in total pay and 1.3 per cent in regular pay, both down from a recent peak of 2.0 per cent in the three months to June 2019.
Councillor Humphreys, who led the Conservative authority for five years, was also the number one earner in 2018/19 with an allowance payment of £16,284.
Councillors Wright and Simpson were joint second in the list with a figure of £10,159.92.
The full list, which accompanies this article, was revealed in a NWBC report to the policy-making Resources Board this week.
A summary statement explained: “The purpose of this report is to advise members of the allowances paid for 2019/20.
“The council also has a duty to publish the amounts paid to members under the Members’ Allowance Scheme.”
In terms of area, North Warwickshire ranks 137th in the UK and its population – around 64,000 – places it in 301st place.