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Bill for Forest Heath councillors rises to nearly £214,000

Forest Heath District Council (3428786)
Forest Heath District Council (3428786)

District councillors cost tax payers more than £200,000 last year, the most in at least six years.

Figures from Forest Heath District Council show its representatives claimed £213,998 in allowances and other expenses in 2017/18.

It is 1.8 per cent higher than 2016/17, but this rise is below the rate of inflation.

Before last year’s bill, the previous record was in 2012/13 when Forest Heath councillors claimed back £213,384.

District councillors do not get a salary, but do get a basic allowance of £5,137, a special responsibilities budget if they are on the cabinet, up to £240 for broadband, and funds to cover attending conferences, seminars and courses.

Cllr Robin Millar, deputy leader and cabinet member for families and communities, continued to be the most expensive councillor for the second year running, claiming £16,859.

Cllr James Waters, council leader and deputy leader of the shadow West Suffolk Council, cost Forest Heath Council Tax- payers £16,601.

The average councillor claim was £7,643.

As part of creating a single west Suffolk authority, the council will be reevaluating its remuneration policy.

Residents have been invited to join an independent panel to advise the new body what councillors should be paid.

Cllr Ruth Bowman, portfolio holder for future governance, said: “Many people have ideas on what councillors should be paid but this is a unique opportunity to influence it. In doing this work you can also look at the role of councillors and what may attract more people to stand from a range of different backgrounds.”

Anybody interested in becoming a member should contact West Suffolk’s democratic services manager, Leah Mickleborough, on 01284 757162.

At East Cambridgeshire District Council, last year’s bill was £204,898, an increase of 1.6 per cent from the authorities 2016/17 spend of £209,544.