Alliance Councillor Michael Long has welcomed news that the Alliance Party group has again achieved the lowest level of allowances among the main parties in Castlereagh.
The figures for the 2011-12 financial year were released on the Council’s website and reveal that the average allowances for sitting Alliance Councillors was £9,822.97. This compares to £10,172.54 for the SDLP, £12,128.35 for the DUP and £12,347.28 for the UUP.
Councillor Long, who campaigned to ensure that the figures are placed on the website, said, “I am delighted that we again have the lowest claims for allowances of the main parties. Several years ago, I faced considerable opposition in my fight to ensure that these figures were made public and published on the website but am glad that the Council now does publish them as I think it is important that local ratepayers can see how much their money is spent.
“We believe that it is important that we provide value for money for ratepayers and these figures show that the average Alliance Councillor cost almost £2,000 less than their Unionist counterparts in the DUP and UUP. One area of particular contrast is the allowances for conferences and official courtesy visits where the figures show that whilst the average Alliance Councillor claimed less than £100 in the year, the average for the DUP was almost £320, for the UUP was around £445 and for the SDLP was over £700.
“Given the fact that the Unionist parties have now completely excluded us from the positions of Chairmanships, which come with special responsibility allowances of well over £2,000 per year, as well as the top posts, I would expect that the differential in the current financial year is only likely to increase and we will continue to do what we can to ensure that Councillors are not a financial burden to our ratepayers.”
Note to Editors
The averages have been collated from the figures on the Castlereagh Borough Council website and the figures are for sitting Councillors with the exception of Alliance where it includes the 5 sitting Councillors and the combined figures for both Judith Cochrane and Vashundara Kamble, who replaced Judith in December.