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Norfolk councillors who will decide on allowances hike u-turn got £1m last year

PUBLISHED: 15:18 06 January 2018 | UPDATED: 15:18 06 January 2018

The leaders of the political groups at Norfolk County Council. Cliff Jordan (Conservatives and council leader), Dan Roper (Liberal Democrats) and Steve Morphew (Labout). Photo: Norfolk Conservatives/submitted/Denise Bradley

The leaders of the political groups at Norfolk County Council. Cliff Jordan (Conservatives and council leader), Dan Roper (Liberal Democrats) and Steve Morphew (Labout). Photo: Norfolk Conservatives/submitted/Denise Bradley

Norfolk Conservatives/submitted/Denise Bradley

The councillors who will vote on whether or not to go ahead with a controversial increase in allowances, received more than £1m last year, figures have revealed.

Norfolk County Council headquarters. County Hall Martineau Lane, Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams Norfolk County Council headquarters. County Hall Martineau Lane, Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams

Fifty of the 84 Norfolk county councillors are twin-hatters, serving both at County Hall and on a borough, district or city council, so are able to claim allowances from both authorities.

The 30 of those who were twin-hatters last year received more than £630,000 in allowances.

Adding on the current councillors who were on a district, borough or city council last year, who have since been elected to County Hall, the total was £1.03m.

Councillors do not get a salary, but receive allowances in recognition of their work, with extra for those with special responsibilities, such as leader of the council or committee chair.

Norfolk councillors vote to keep controversial allowance increase. File photo of County Hall. Picture Dan Grimmer. Norfolk councillors vote to keep controversial allowance increase. File photo of County Hall. Picture Dan Grimmer.

They can also claim for travel, subsistence and broadband.

Before Christmas, Norfolk county councillors voted, by 39 votes to 26 with two abstentions, to increase their basic allowance from £9,401 to £10,500 a year.

That was despite an independent panel recommending basic allowance should stay at the current level, bar any percentage increase local authority staff get,

The panel accepted there was a need for a “fundamental review”, with allowances lower than in neighbouring counties, but recommended any changes should happen next year.

They highlighted the need to be “mindful”, given the council has been consulting over “significant budgetary reductions”.

But Conservative leader Cliff Jordan went against the recommendation and proposed the basic allowance increase. He also recommended his special responsibility allowance as leader should go up to £31,700 from £27,495, although he subsequently said he would donate his increase to charity.

He also recommended the chairs of adult social care and children’s services committee get an increase of £13,747 to £15,809. The independent panel had said that should go up.

The increases will see £142,000 shared among county councillors, from an underspend in the allowances budget.

But Labour and the Liberal Democrats voted against and have forced a special meeting of Norfolk County Council on Monday, where a motion will be put forward to rescind the decision to hike the allowances.

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