Mid and East Antrim: special responsibilities earn councillors extra money

Mid and East Antrim councillors have been discussing their payments for the year ahead.
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An annual basic allowance of £16,394 plus travel expenses and carers’ allowance is payable to councillors. The sum was recommended by the Department for Communities for 2023/24.

The Department has allocated £80,809 to the local authority for special responsibility allowances which do not include those paid to the mayor and deputy mayor.

A report to councillors says Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has 74 positions of responsibility. Just one special responsibility allowance can be paid to a councillor at a time.

Editorial image.Editorial image.
Editorial image.

Councillors take part in 33 external committee and partnerships. The chair of each of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s six main committees will be paid £500 monthly, the vice-chair, £300.

In addition, there will be six positions of responsibility for investigations, disciplinary and appeals panels that will be paid a total of £14,400, if meetings occur. Payments to the mayor and deputy mayor are separate and are undisclosed.

However, the sum of £1,000 has been paid to the mayor monthly and £650 to the deputy mayor, from 2019 until 2022. In 2018, there were payments of £612 to the mayor and £510 to the deputy monthly.

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Councilfor 2023/24 is Coast Road Alliance Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna. The Deputy Mayor is Bannside TUV Alderman Stewart McDonald.

Per Mile

In addition, councillors can be paid a dependants’ carers’ allowance as well as travel and meal allowances for out of town business. A payment of 65 pence per mile by car is available as well as 45 pence per mile by electric car, 24 pence per mile by motorcycle and 20 pence per mile by pedal cycle.

By comparison, the allowance payable to the Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey is £21,840 annually and the deputy £10,920.

The chair of the Planning Committee is eligible for an annual payment of £8,320 with £3,380 for the vice-chair. The sum of £6,240 is paid to the chair of the other three committees apart from the Audit Committee who will be paid £1,820 annually.

The remaining committee vice chairs will be paid £2,860 and the Audit Committee vice-chair is paid £780. The other 10 Planning Committee members will be paid £2,340 each.

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A review carried out by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council in May 2021 showed that mayors in other council areas of Northern Ireland could receive an annual allowance between £10,000 and £34,800, their deputies between £5,000 and £9,021 and committee chairs between £1,061 and £8,844. The basic allowance is also paid.

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter