Which councillors in and around Great Yarmouth voted to increase their allowances
PUBLISHED: 10:46 13 December 2017 | UPDATED: 10:46 13 December 2017
County councillors have voted to increase their allowances at a time when services across Norfolk are facing cuts.
In and around Great Yarmouth seven councillors voted to increase their allowances, four voted against, one abstained and one was absent.
An independent panel had acknowledged that there was a need for a review of the allowances which Norfolk county councillors receive.
But “mindful” of potential budget cuts, including cutting subsidies for bus services and reducing spend on children’s centres, the panel recommended the basic allowance remain at £9,401.
However, Conservative leader Cliff Jordan went against that advice and recommended a basic allowance increase to £10,500 and that his own special responsibility allowance as leader should go up to £31,700 from £27,495.
He also recommended the chairs of adult social care and children’s services committees should get an increase from £13,747 to £15,809.
Mr Jordan defended the increase – £142,000 in total among the 84 councillors – saying Norfolk councillors got less than comparable neighbouring counties.
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He said there was never a good time to agree increases, but added: “What I am trying to do is even things out and get things right.”
He said the money – an extra £142,000 – would come from an underspend in the allowances budget.
But Labour opposition leader Steve Morphew said it was “dirty money” and that he was “speechless” it had been proposed at a time when vulnerable people face cuts to services.
His group voted against – as did the Liberal Democrats.
The council is currently consulting over cuts as it looks to plug a £125m funding gap by 2022.
The proposals include cutting £500,000 from subsidies for buses and community transport and reducing spending on children’s centres from £10m to £5m.
Former Labour council leader George Nobbs accused Mr Jordan of finding a “magic money tree” to give himself a “nice Christmas present”, while “kicking the people of Norfolk in the teeth”.
But Conservative adult social care chairman Bill Borrett said allowances were needed to enable people with limited incomes to serve as councillors.
Breakdown of the votes
Those who voted for an increase:
• Mick Castle (I – Yarmouth North and Central)
• Andy Grant (C – Lothingland)
• Ron Hanton (C – East Flegg)
• Brian Iles (C – Acle)
• Richard Price (C – Smallburgh)
• Carl Smith (C – Breydon)
• Haydn Thirtle (C – West Flegg)
Those who voted against an increase:
• Nigel Dixon (C – Stalham)
• Andrew Proctor (C – Blofield and Brundall)
• Mike Smith–Clare (L – Yarmouth Nelson and Southtown)
• Colleen Walker (L – Magdalen)
• Graham Plant (C – Gorleston St Andrews) abstained
• Penny Carpenter (C – Caister) was absent