PORTSMOUTH City Council pays less in expenses and allowances to elected members than the majority of other big authorities in the region, new figures reveal.
Statistics compiled by TaxPayers’ Alliance reveal councillors in the city earn a basic allowance of £10,358.
Councillor Donna Jones, as leader, takes an additional £18,644 – but that’s less than the leaders of Brighton, Southampton and Bournemouth councils.
Only Winchester pays less to its leader – £16,734.
Of the local districts, Fareham pays the most to councillors who don’t hold any special responsibilities – £6,566 – and leader Cllr Sean Woodward takes £19,699 on top of the basic allowance.
Portsmouth paid out £569,150 in expenses overall in 2014/2015, the lowest of the local unitary authorities, while Fareham paid the most of any district aside from Winchester – £380,885.
We are providing value for taxpayers’ money in Portsmouth and we pride ourselves on keeping costs down for the people of the city.Councillor Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council
Cllr Jones said: ‘We are providing value for taxpayers’ money in Portsmouth and we pride ourselves on keeping costs down for the people of the city.
‘Being in opposition is not a full-time job. However, when you a member of the administration and the leader of the council, the chair of a committee or a cabinet member, you’re committing a lot of time. It’s a full-time job for me now.’
The city statistics come despite Labour and the Lib Dem council groups calling for a reduction in the amount paid to councillors as part of their proposed spending programmes.
Cllr Woodward said while Fareham’s allowances are higher, it has fewer councillors.
He said: ‘Fourteen years ago we took the decision to cut a quarter of the councillors out.
‘We reduced our numbers from 42 to 31, which now is what the government is encouraging councils to do.
‘If you look at the bill, it works out at roughly £500 for each councillor a month.
‘We are running an organisation that spends around £50m a year and employs around 400 staff.
‘It’s a highly efficient organisation with significant challenges.’
TaxPayers’ Alliance found £699m has been paid out to councillors in allowances in the UK over the last three years. In 2014/2015, the highest basic allowance was paid by Moray Council – £16,722 – while the highest special responsibility allowance was paid by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea – £54,769.