COUNCILLORS in Gwent received more than £4.5 million in allowances and expenses last year.

The figure for 2010/11 is only marginally up on the previous year’s total as the majority of councillors across all authorities agreed a pay freeze.

Blaenau Gwent council paid the lowest of the five authorities in 2010/11 totalling £766,490.61 in both allowances and expenses, which includes claims for things such as travel and food.

Caerphilly, which is the largest Gwent authority covering both the old Islwyn and Rhymney Valley areas, paid the highest amount totalling £1,236, 901.91.

Newport council paid the second highest amount with £873,597.70, followed by Monmouthshire council, which totalled £816,688.74 and Torfaen council’s at £811,081.20.

The five Gwent council leaders - Caerphilly’s Lindsay Whittle, Blaenau Gwent’s Des Hillman, Newport’s Matthew Evans, Monmouthshire’s Peter Fox and Torfaen’s Bob Wellington, were the highest paid in each authority. The top earner was Caerphilly council’s former leader Cllr Whittle who got £49,403.66 and the lowest paid leader was Cllr Hillman who received £40,709.40.

The highest expenses claim across all five councils was made by Monmouthshire councillor Liz Hackett Pain, who received £4,132 in travel allowances.

The lowest was a £3 travel expenses claim made by Newport council’s Malpas ward member, Cllr John Bird.

Councillors are entitled to claim a basic allowance, which is around the £13,000 mark, while cabinet members and councillors who sit on committees receive an additional special allowance in recognition of their extra responsibilities.

Members are also entitled to claim expenses for things including travel, care for dependent children and adults, food and overnight stays when working outside their authority area.

Allowances are calculated by the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales and councillors can choose to accept or decline the maximum amount it recommends each year.

Councillors' expenses 2010-2011

Click on the links to see councillors' expenses in detail for each authority.

Blaenau Gwent