BARNSLEY’S councillors collectively pocketed more than £1m through annual allowances and expenses.

There are 63 councillors – three in 21 wards – and each received between £10,679 and £11,823 through a basic allowance, although recently-elected members and those who stepped down last year received much less.

In addition to their annual salary, some councillors receive special responsibility pay for carrying out extra duties, such as serving on the council’s ruling cabinet, or chairing committees including planning, scrutiny or licensing boards.

Barnsley Council leader Sir Steve Houghton was paid the most at £40,558, with former deputy leader Chris Lamb – who stepped down in last month’s elections – second as he received over £29,000.

Couns Trevor Cave, Robert Frost, James Higginbottom, Sharon Howard, Caroline Makinson and Jenny Platts – all surpassed the £24,000 mark.

Couns Janine Bowler, Neil Danforth, Mandy Lowe-Flello and Jo Newing all received £600 in travel expenses – the most of any councillor.

The council paid out £10,597 in mileage allowances last year in total – almost £1,000 less than last year.

Sir Steve told the Chronicle: “Every councillor – regardless of the political party they’re in – work very hard for the residents in their ward.

“They go above and beyond and represent their respective communities extremely well.

“They are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and Barnsley’s allowances are comparable with every other local authority across the country.”

The total paid to all councillors in allowances and expenses for the financial year was £1,005,830, a 1.6 per cent drop on the previous year’s £1,022,778.

Councillors’ basic rates collectively topped £727,000 – a drop from the previous figure of £744,000 with extra responsibilities accounting for a further £267,000.

John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Taxpayers facing record council tax rises want to be sure they are getting value for money from their local authority leadership.

“Many authorities continue with extremely generous pay and perks, including bonuses and ‘golden goodbyes’, while local people are facing a financial squeeze.

“Residents can use these figures to hold their local town hall bosses to account.”

A council spokesperson added: “All councillors receive a basic allowance in recognition of the work they do on behalf of the community, such as representing their constituents and attending council meetings.

“Members with extra responsibilities, for example cabinet members and chairpersons of regulatory boards, also receive a ‘special responsibility allowance’ for the extra work involved.”