MORE than £833k in allowances were paid to Halton’s councillors last year.

Each councillor received an annual basic allowance of £9,009 in 2020-21 – up from £8,769 the previous year.

Special responsibility allowances (SRA) were also paid to members who held additional roles, including the leader and deputy leader of the council as well as executive board members and chairs of committees.

The total figure received by the council’s then 56 elected members was £833,805 for the financial year April to March, of which £501,103 was made up of basic allowances paid to all members.

The rest were SRAs paid to 38 councillors. No travel or subsistence expenses were claimed during 2020-21, as councillors worked largely remotely during the pandemic.

The largest SRA was paid to then council leader Cllr Rob Polhill, who has since stepped down as leader. He received £23,235 on top of his basic allowance of £9,009 – a total of £32,244. Then deputy Cllr Mike Wharton, who has since succeeded Cllr Polhill in the top job, received an SRA of £15,800, bringing his total to £24,810.

Next was Cllr Ged Philbin, who received an SRA of £14,106 and picked up a total of £23,116, followed by the authority’s then executive board made up of Cllrs Stef Nelson, Tom McInerney, Eddie Jones, Stan Hill, Ron Hignett, Marie Wright, Phil Harris and Dave Cargill, who all received SRAs of £13,011 on top of their basic allowances, a combined total of £22,020 each.

The council said allowances are set by an independent remuneration panel made up of three people, none of whom are members of the council, and that increases to allowances are indexed to the national pay awards for local government officers.

In May’s election, boundary changes meant the number of councillors in Halton was reduced from  56 to 54.

The full list of allowances can be viewed here.