TOTAL spend by the Isle of Wight Council on member allowances increased by £3,000 this year.

There was a total spend of £461,128 during 2017-18 however, this also includes members from the previous administration. Councillors were elected to their position last May, one month into the financial year.

Once former councillors are subtracted, current councillors claimed £443,029 this year — compared to the previous year when they claimed £440,167.

All members are given a basic allowance of £7,700 per year. Due to the council changover however, members elected in May were given a basic allowance of £6,892.

Certain members, such as cabinet members, are given an additional special responsibilities allowance. They are also allowed to claim for travel off Island, and childcare expenses — although no councillors claimed for childcare this year.

The biggest allowance was given to council leader, Dave Stewart, who was given £15,400 on top of the basic allowance, as well as £2,274 in travel expenses — totalling £25,374.

This is an increase on previous leader, Jonathan Bacon, who was given £21,331 during 2016 / 17.

Deputy leader, Stuart Hutchinson, was paid £18,400, which includes a £9,625 special responsibilities allowance, as well as £1,076 for travel. Previous deputy, Steve Stubbings, was paid £16,017.

Cllrs Ian Ward and Wayne Whittle were both paid more than £16,000.

A council spokesperson said: “When comparing councillor allowances, year on year, it is worth noting a different governance structure existed in 2017/18 to that in 2016/17.

“The 2016/17 allowances will, in part, relate to a period when the council was under control of the independent administration.

“As such, the governance arrangements (the number of executive members) in place at that time is not comparable with 2017/18.

“In January 2017, the leader and deputy leader resigned from the positions and the special responsibility would have transferred to the ‘caretaker’ leader, Cllr Dave Stewart, and deputy leader Cllr Stuart Hutchinson.

“Therefore, the cost of the previous leader/deputy leader is not a full year cost.

“The additional time spent as caretaker would also account for the additional payments made to Cllrs Stewart and Hutchinson.”