Elected  members

Expenses and allowances

You are entitled to claim a number of allowances to enable you to complete your duties as a councillor.

Allowances scheme

All councils are required to approve a scheme of allowances at the beginning of each financial year. Schemes may be amended during the course of a year, but a completely new scheme can only be introduced from 1 April in any year.

The Members’ Allowances Panel undertook a full review of the existing scheme of allowances for councillors and a report with their findings and recommendations was submitted to the Annual Meeting of Council on 16 May 2019. All the Panel’s recommendations were endorsed by the Council, with the exception of the Special Responsibility Allowance for the role of Deputy Leader.

The Council resolved to ask the Panel to reconsider the Special Responsibility Allowance for the Deputy Leader in light of changes which had been made to the key areas of responsibility of this role. The Panel therefore met to consider this element of the Scheme and their findings and recommendations, detailed within its revised report, were endorsed by the Council at its meeting of 24 July 2019.

Members' allowance panel report
Summary of allowances

The scheme of allowances has 2 main types of remuneration for members:

  • basic allowance
  • special responsibility allowance.

Pro rata adjustments for these allowances will be calculated on a daily basis if any of the following applies:

  • a member leaves the council
  • a new member is elected
  • responsibilities change
  • rates decided by the council change during the year.
Basic allowance

Each member receives a basic allowance of £12,054 per year which recognises the time devoted to their work. This includes:

  • meetings with constituents
  • political group meetings
  • incidental costs such as:
    • use of home
    • telephone use
    • postages

Subject to Income Tax and National Insurance contributions: Yes

How to claim

An automatic monthly payment is paid so no claim is required.

Special responsibility allowances

Payable where members hold positions that require spending more time and effort on council affairs than is expected of other members.

A member will only receive payment of the highest applicable allowance.

Committee

Role

Allowance

Cabinet

Leader of the council and majority group

£38,816

 

Deputy Leader of the council and majority group

£24,109

 

Other Cabinet members

£15,671

 

Leader of the main opposition group

£7,232

Overview and scrutiny, Overview management, Planning committee and Review panels

Chairmen

£10,366

 

Vice Chairmen

£2,532

Area planning sub committee

Chairmen

£6,027

Licensing, Licensing Act 2003, Pensions and Audit Committees

Chairmen

£3,977

 

Supplements are determined by members holding group offices in groups with 6 or more members.

Group

Role

Allowance

Majority Group

Secretary

£12,414

Main Opposition Group

Secretary

£2,429

Opposition Group

Leader

£1,889

 

* Calculation for the Group Officer Allowance is shown below:

  • Basic Allowance 12,054 x 1.5 = £18,081 ÷ 67 (number of elected members)x number of members in a group
  • To be paid where there are six or more councillors in a group
  • The allowance be paid to a Group Leader and/or Group Secretary of an Opposition Group, the allocation of monies be determined by the Group

Subject to Income Tax and National Insurance contributions: Yes

How to claim

An automatic monthly payment is paid so no claim is required.

Childcare and dependant carer allowances

We pay allowances to members for childcare and dependant care expenses that occur when they are on approved duties.

Childcare allowance

This is paid at the National Living Wage rate which is currently £8.21 per hour and is limited to children aged 14 or under.

Subject to Income Tax and National Insurance contributions: Yes

Dependent care allowance

The allowance is paid at the National Living Wage rate for home care currently £8.72 per hour up to a maximum of 25 hours per month. There must be medical or social work evidence that care is required.

Subject to Income Tax and National Insurance contributions: Yes

How to claim

Childcare and dependant carer receipts must be provided to show the care provided on the dates of approved duties. If another member of the household is looking after a child or dependant whilst the member is away they cannot claim.

Only one claim per month can be made per members’ household.

A childcare and dependant carer’s allowance form is available from the group office.

Co-optee's allowances

When a co-optee is appointed to a committee or sub-committee they can be paid an allowance for attending meetings and conferences. However, this is not available when given the time off work without any loss of earnings. The allowance is £50 per meeting.

Subject to Income Tax and National Insurance contributions: Yes

How to claim

More information about the allowances will be provided to relevant co-optees via democratic services.

Information technology allowances

We pay an initial allowance towards the cost incurred by members for information technology equipment once every electoral cycle. The allowance is 50 per cent of the cost incurred up to a maximum of £394. This is paid upon receipt of an itemised invoice from a recognised supplier.

An annual maintenance allowance of £140 is available to members with a personal email address which can be used for council business. The allowance is deemed as a contribution towards the cost of items such as:

  • repairs to equipment
  • broadband
  • printer cartridges and paper.
It is not a reimbursement of the actual cost.

Subject to Income Tax and National Insurance contributions: Yes

How to make a claim

Claims should be made in writing to the Director of Corporate Resources with supporting receipts.

Travel and subsistence allowances

These allowances can only be claimed for duties which have been approved in advance by the council such as:

  • council meetings, the Cabinet, committees or sub committees
  • such other duties as are approved in advance by the council, the Cabinet, committees or sub committees
  • seminars, organised by council departments or otherwise approved by the council, the Cabinet, committees or sub committees
  • attendance at meetings with officers, members or constituents on legitimate council business
  • political group meetings
  • pre arranged inter political group meetings, with officers present, to which at least two groups are invited. (The meetings to be called by officers after consultation and agreement of the groups, to take place on council premises, to have specific topics and attendance to be authenticated by an appropriate signed document)
  • outside bodies as agreed by the group secretaries and authorised by the council
  • parish and town council meetings
  • such other duties as are approved in advance by the Chief Executive in consultation with the Director of Corporate Resources. Any claims disallowed, at the request of the member, should be referred to the members’ allowances panel in the form of a written submission. Any requests are considered on a quarterly basis

Allowances cannot be claimed for events which are primarily political, religious or social in nature. Receptions and civic functions are excluded.

Members receive a book to record their travel and subsistence’s so they can keep track of what they have claimed for.

Travelling allowances

Vehicles

Members can claim mileage for using their own vehicle, a family members or hired vehicle.

From April 2011 the Inland Revenue have deemed that the following rates (which apply regardless of engine size) will be used to calculate the profit or loss element of mileage reimbursements:

up to 10,000 miles in a tax year45p per mile
additional miles over 10,00025p per mile
cycle20p per mile

Our travel allowances are:

Vehicle type

Size of vehicle

Mileage

Allowance

Standard car user

Any

Up to 10,000

45p per mile

 

Any

Over 10,000

25p per mile

Bicycle

 

Any

20p per mile

Public transport

 

 

Actual cost

 

The cost of tolls, ferries and parking fees can also be claimed including parking for overnight stays.

Public transport

Public transport can be claimed for second class fares including seat reservation and luggage storage fees. If saver options are used then the lower amount should be claimed for. Only in exceptional circumstances should first class train fares be claimed, at the discretion of the Chief Executive. 

Taxi hire

In urgent cases or if no public transport is available. The fare and any reasonable gratuity may be claimed. In any other case members can only claim the cost of travelling by public transport.

Air travel (UK or abroad)

The actual cost of air travel can be claimed as long as it doesn’t exceed the cost of the cheapest alterative form of transport. If there is a significant time saving, members can claim either the:

  • ordinary fare or any available fare by regular air service
  • fare paid by the member if there is no alternative or if urgent

Subsistence allowances

These allowances are paid for duties outside our boundary, certain meals with receipts required as proof. Claims of £3 or less can be self-certified where a receipt cannot be obtained.  Forms are provided by the group office.

If a meal is taken on a train where there is an entitlement, the cost as long as it is reasonable, will be reimbursed. For official visits abroad reasonable expenses are also reimbursed. Receipts must be provided for these meals.

Individual meals are not claimable if an overnight allowance is being claimed.

Type of allowance

Timescale

Allowance amount

Breakfast

4 hours or more before 11am

£7.17

Lunch

4 hours or more including 12noon to 2pm

£9.77

Tea

4 hours or more including 3 to 6pm

£3.88

Dinner

4 hours or more ending after 7pm

£19.53

Overnight (in London)

 

£181.90

Overnight (not in London)

 

£136.87

Out of pocket expenses

Per night

£5.21

 

Subject to Income Tax and National Insurance contributions: No

How to make a claim

Members should provide a full description of the duties involved for each claim. At members meetings attendance sheets will be used to verify claims. Where meetings are with other members of officers this should be detailed on the form.

All receipts including VAT receipts for claims for fuel for business mileage, need to be provided. The petrol receipt must be obtained before making the journey. One receipt can apply to several journeys.

Any claims must be made within 2 months of the date of the meeting or event.

Claims for travel and subsistence allowances can be made using the claim form book provided. Claims should be returned to the group office.

Conference allowances

We are able to pay travel and subsistence allowances to members attending approved conferences or similar meetings on behalf of the council. This only applies to matters which in the council's opinion relate to the interests of the area or its inhabitants. Attendance at conferences or meetings relating to trade or of a political nature cannot be approved for the payment of expenses.

Travel expenses to conferences are normally paid based on second class rail fares even if the member has used their own transport. If there is no convenient public transport or official passengers are carried the appropriate mileage rate may be paid.

Members do not need to claim expenses if conference fees, travel expenses, meals and accommodation is paid directly by the council.

If members decide to make their own arrangements and pay for accommodation and meals they need to consider the maximum subsistence allowance.

The actual cost or the maximum allowance, whichever is less, is payable for overnight accommodation.

Soft drinks, tea and coffees can be claimed with a meal but no other drinks, newspapers or laundry expenses. Any telephone calls to the group office and one home telephone call are claimable.

How to claim

All receipts need to be submitted including when claiming for the maximum allowance. The travel and subsistence allowance claim book can be completed for conference allowances.

Advice is available from the Director of Corporate Resources.

Income tax liability

The following allowances are treated by the Inland Revenue as taxable which are in accordance with tax codes supplied by the tax inspector:

  • basic
  • special responsibility
  • childcare and dependant carer
  • information technology

If a subsistence allowance is claimed when a member is at their usual place of work, County Hall, tax is deducted.

Tax options

There are 2 options for members regarding tax. These are:

  • Pay As You Earn – tax is deducted in the usual way with the recipient’s code number
  • Basic rate – an adjustment is made at the end of the year if required

New councillors are asked by the Inland Revenue to choose their preferred method.

Tax reduction

Individual members may be able to offset some expenses. This must be discussed with the tax inspector. Where extra household expenses are incurred such as light and fuel relating to parts of their home that are used for member duties. If agreed the Inland Revenue will make a standard reduction of £135 per year to cover this.

Any queries should be made by:

  • telephone – 0300 200 3300
  • post –
    • HM Revenue & Customs
      Pay As You Earn
      Ref  391/H700C
      PO Box 4000
      Cardiff
      CF14 8HR
National Insurance contributions and social security implications

Basic and special responsibility allowances are subject to the deduction of class 1 National Insurance contributions for any pay period which is at least equal to the lower earnings limit. This is currently £719 per month.

Members will pay a lower rate if they are:

  • a married woman or widow with a ‘valid certificate of election’
  • deferring National Insurance because they have another job

Members won’t pay any contribution if they have reached state pension age and have provided proof of age such as birth certificate or passport.

Overpayments

Total allowance contributions combined with payments on other incomes may exceed the maximum set by Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

If an overpayment is made on class 1 contributions a refund is automatically paid by the DWP at the end of the tax year. Self-employed members paying class 2 contributions have to apply to DWP for a refund.

Where members expect to pay more than the annual maximum they may apply to DWP for payment of National Insurance contributions to be deferred in one or more of the employments. This is advisable as oppose to awaiting a refund.

Further advice

For any advice about complex pension and benefit matters contact DWP.

Individual allowances 2018 - 2019

We are required, by the Local Authorities (Members’ Allowances) (England) Regulations 2003, to publish the allowances paid to each member for the past financial year. The basic allowance for 2018 – 2019 was £11,502. This is payable to each member to recognise the time they devote to their work.

If specific allowance details don’t appear for a particular councillor this means they haven’t claimed or weren’t entitled to the allowance.

None of the councillor’s claimed a carer’s allowance during the year.

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