Public express anger in Great Yarmouth over expenses increase

The campaigners in Great Yarmouth.Picture supplied by Mike Smith-Clare

The campaigners in Great Yarmouth.Picture supplied by Mike Smith-Clare - Credit: Archant

Campaigners fighting an increase in councillor allowances have been out in Great Yarmouth gathering names for a petition.

Labour county and borough councillors joined forces with more than 20 campaigners in the Market Place on Saturday to gather signatures against county councillor allowance rises.

Last week a controversial vote saw councillors vote to increase their allowances by 11pc.

Saturday’s campaign saw dozens of petition sheets completed in freezing cold conditions, with the vast majority of busy Christmas shoppers expressing their anger at the decision.

MORE; councillors approve riseLabour County councillor for Nelson and Southtown Mike Smith-Clare organised the event.

He said: “We were determined to show local residents that we are totally against the rise in allowances.

“At a time when PCSOs are being axed, bus services cut and children’s centres closed then any increase is an absolute disgrace. It is indefensible to tell the public that they must accept hardships, while at the same time awarding yourself a financial increase.”

The Labour Group with support from Liberal Democrats is seeking for the council to reconvene in order to overturn the decision.

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However on Monday it was revealed a fresh vote before Christmas on the allowance rise would not happen.

Labour leader Steve Morphew and Lib Dem leader Dan Roper, whose groups voted against the increases, had requested a special meeting in an attempt to get the decision rescinded.

They believed that could happen as soon as this Friday, if they could table a motion backed by 21 members of the council.

But Dr Wendy Thomson, the council’s managing director, said the motion, signed by 21 councillors, would need to submitted at least seven working days before the meeting.

She wrote that a meeting on Friday did not comply with that, given the opposition leaders made their request for the special meeting on Saturday.

She said, once their notice of motion with 21 signatures was received, discussions would happen over a suitable date for the meeting.

Council leader Cliff Jordan, who had said he would give his increase to charity, said he wanted to fix the system for councillors who get less in allowances than counterparts on other councils.