THE amount in allowances paid to Halton councillors fell last year after a boundary review saw their numbers reduced, with less money also being paid for additional responsibilities.

Figures show the borough's elected members received combined allowances of £811,549 for the financial year 2021-22, a fall from £833,805 the year before.

Councillors in England all receive a basic allowance to support their work as members of local authorities in accordance with government regulations, with the amounts set by independent panels. They can also claim certain expenses, such as travel costs.

The latest figures show each Halton's councillor received a basic allowance of £9,168 in 2021-22, up from £9,009 the previous year.  But a shakeup by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England saw a new electoral map come into play in Halton as of May last year,  which consigned some old wards to history and merged others to create entirely new ones.

It meant the number of elected members in Halton was reduced from 56 to 54, which contributed to a fall in the overall allowances paid.

In addition to basic entitlements, special responsibility allowances (SRA) are paid to members who hold additional roles at councils. Such positions can include the leader and deputy leader of the council or a political group, executive board/cabinet members, and chairs of committees. Of the council's 54 elected members, 40 received some kind of SRA.

Of last year's total £811,549 figure paid out - £317,697 was made up of SRAs. But that was reduced from £501,103 in SRAs paid the previous year.

The largest SRA was paid to council leader Mike Wharton (£22,604), which combined with his basic allowance took him to £31,773. The next highest was deputy leader Dave Thompson (£14,952) taking his combined figure to £24,121. Then the members of the authority's governing executive board who each received £13,239 SRA.

Leader of the opposition group, Liberal Democrat leader Margaret Ratcliffe received an SRA of £7,875, bringing her total allowances to £17,043.

Last year Cllrs Wharton and Ratcliffe said they would be rejecting any recommended increase to their own leader allowances, branding them 'wholly inappropriate'.

The council has previously stated that 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.