Surrey County Councillors were paid nearly £2 million and its leader was paid more than any other council leader in the south east of England last year
Craig Richard, Reporter – Epsom + Ewell / Thursday 17 March 2016 / News
Surrey County Council paid councillors £1,860,177 in allowances and expenses last year
Surrey County Council leader David Hodge
Councillors’ wage and expenses bills also soared at the third fastest rate in the country over the last three years.
Surrey County Council Leader David Hodge’s special responsibility allowance rose by nearly 50 per cent from the previous year, figures analysed by the Taxpayers’ Alliance reveal.
Figures open to the public on the county council’s website show that the council leader’s allowance rose from £30,500 in 2013/14 to £43,000 in 2014/15.
The current rates will be in place until 2017.
The council’s total expenditure on councillors’ allowances and expenses increased 31 per cent between 2012/13 and 2014/15.
Nationwide, only Waverley Borough Council (77 per cent) in Surrey and Swale Borough Council (41 per cent) in Kent increased their expenses at a faster rate.
Councillor Hodge’s allowance was part of £1,860,177 paid to Surrey County Councillors in allowances and expenses.
Other councillors are paid a basic allowance of £12,418 per year, his deputy receives £32,250 and the council’s eight cabinet members each receive £22,500 every year.
A spokesman for the council said the county’s size and proximity to London justified councillors’ allowances.
Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Taxpayers will be shocked to discover the rate at which councillors’ allowances have risen over the last three years, despite local authorities pleading poverty and in many cases raising Council Tax or cutting services.
“It goes to show that not every council has prioritised finding savings or cutting taxes over awarding local politicians above inflation allowances.”
Mr Hodge’s office referred calls back to the county council press office.
A press office statement said: “Our members serve one of the biggest counties in the country, with over 1.1 million residents, and due to Surrey’s close proximity to London we have to make such allowances available to them.”