Hidden away in Part 9/82 of Folkestone & Hythe District Council’s current Constitution, it states:
The allowances shall be automatically adjusted, annually, by reference to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The adjustment will be calculated on the September CPI index, for implementation the following April.
The CPI is the official measure of inflation of consumer prices of the United Kingdom. The CPI calculates the average price increase as a percentage for a basket of 700 different goods and services. Around the middle of each month it collects information on prices of these commodities from 180,000 different retailing outlets.
So each year, Cllrs allowances increase. Yet they hasten not to tell you this. While many of their constituents will suffer during this cost of living crisis, they will at least get something more than the rest of us.
Now of course some Cllrs work much harder than others and would no doubt deserve an increase. Others, well…
Below is a chart of what Cllrs received in allowances between April 2020/21 and April 2022/23. It does not include their expenses (Travel, Subsistence or Dependants’ Carers’ Allowance).
So taking Cllr Clive Goddard (Con) as Chairman of the Planning committee, his allowances (not including expenses) was £12,140 for 2020/21. As of April 2022/23 he collect in allowances £12,578, an increase of £438. Now of course, Cllr Goddard works as a bricklayer, so what the Chancellor offered as help for the cost of living crisis applies to him as well. So Clive like all working Cllrs will get a double uplift.
The Leader of the Opposition Cllr Connor McConville (Lab), who also works, has seen an allowance increase of £500, between April 2020/21 and April 2022/23.
Cllr Tim Prater (Lib Dem) & Cllr Lesley Whybrow (Green) both Cabinet Members and employed, have seen an increase of £609 between the said dates above.
And of course, Cllr Monk (Con), Leader of the council, who received allowances of £29,838 in 2020/21. And from this month will receive £30,919, an increase of £882. (Cllr Monk has not collected an ICT allowance)
Councillors don’t receive a salary. They can at our Council collect up to £31,000 a year on ‘allowances’, but the Local Government Association argues this is not a proper income because they’re being compensated for the time they spend on the job.
This sounds a lot like a salary to most people. It does to HMRC too, which treats their ‘allowance’ as taxable income.
It’s very important not to leave Cllrs out of pocket for helping their communities. As Treasury Minister David Gaulke MP, put it in the summer of 2014:
“Local councillors perform a vital but frequently unsung constitutional role working on behalf of local people, often in addition to other professional and personal commitments. They are required to perform their duties in both the communities they serve and their council offices and most receive no payment other than allowances in recognition of the time and expenses they incur. The government wants to ensure that nobody is discouraged from representing their local community as a local councillor and therefore intends to introduce this new exemption so that in the future, travel expenses paid to local councillors, including those to cover the costs of journeys to their council offices, are not subject to income tax or NICs.”
So no tax on their travel expenses (0.45p a mile by car), and an annual CPI increase on their allowances. In these times of forthcoming hardship for many, we doubt if our Cllrs with their tax free travel expenses, and increase in allowances, will not be worrying about heating or eating. Doubles all round.
The Shepway Vox Team
Dissent is Not a Crime