HC Deb 25 June 2003 vol 407 c842W
Ms Atherton

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what impact receiving expenses has on a councillor's application for income support; and if he will make a statement on his Department's policy on local councillors' expenses. [116068]

Maria Eagle

A local authority councillors' work is not treated as remunerative work for assessment purposes. However, councillors' allowances and expenses may be taken into account as income, thus reducing the amount of benefit they may receive.

When assessing a claim for income support, any allowances paid for necessary expenses are not treated as income and are disregarded. Any allowances paid for a councillor's time are regarded as income, and are taken into account after applying appropriate disregards.

Councillors are entitled to some allowances whether they are claimed or not. If a councillor has not claimed an allowance they could expect to receive, it is treated as notional income and taken into account as if it had actually been paid.

Further details on the treatment of local councillors' earnings can be found in the "Decision Makers Guide", Volume 3 (paragraph 15096); Volume 4 (paragraph 20485); and Volume 5 (paragraph 26066), which is available in the Library.