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Saturday, 30 May 2015

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£300,000 bill for Tynedale's county councillors

Tynedale'S county councillors pocketed over £300,000 in allowances and expenses in the last financial year.

Their claims were part of a total package of £1.26m paid to councillors over the past 12 months.

The figures released by Northumberland County Council this week are slightly distorted by the fact there was an election in May last year, so include money paid to former councillors who lost their seats at the election, or chose not to stand.

All councillors are paid a standard £12,749 a year simply for being councillors, but that figure can be doubled with special responsibility allowances for holding certain offices.

Travelling expenses and subsistence allowances can boost the figure still further.

However, all payments are subject to income tax.

Tynedale’s biggest claimant was Ovington’s Paul Kelly, whose basic pay is boosted by the fact he is independent group leader, and also chairs two committees, as well as being a member of the policy board. He was paid just over £28,000, which included over £2,600 in mileage allowances.

Also over the £25,000 mark was Ponteland North’s Coun. Richard Dodd, whose basic pay is almost doubled by the allowance he receives as chairman of the west area committee

Another £25,000 man was Heddon on the Wall’s Peter Jackson, who picked up more than £13,000 in special responsibility payments as leader of the Conservative group, and a member of the policy board.

West area planning committee chairman Coun. Colin Horncastle, of Allendale, claimed £24,991, boosted by special responsibility payments of almost £10,000 and travelling expenses of £2,400.

The highest remuneration was that of more than £37,000 paid to council leader Coun. Grant Davey, of Blyth.

A county council spokesman said: The allowances paid to councillors are recommended by an independent remuneration panel.

“Allowances and expenses are also benchmarked to ensure they are in line with other local authorities.”