Yarmouth Cllrs gets £2k to donate to good causes, and avoid red tape

PUBLISHED: 22:26 13 September 2012

File pic of Yarmouth Town Hall from the river

File pic of Yarmouth Town Hall from the river

Archant © 2011

COUNCIL bosses have creamed £78,000 of taxpayer’s cash from the top of town hall budgets to give all councillors a fund to help constituents. The borough’s 39 councillors now have £2,000 each to spend on good causes in the wards they represent, with cash already spent on flood defence leaflets, sports equipment for children’s clubs and new radios for Yarmouth Coastwatch.

But 30 councillors have yet to spend any of their allotted £2,000 - four months after the fund was made available to them. Cash will not be carried over to the next year’s fund if the scheme continues beyond the trial year.

Council leader Trevor Wainwright explained that Labour introduced the initiative in a bid to cut red tape and get problems sorted quickly.

“Each councillor has a budget of £2,000 to spend in their wards to get good things done quickly, such as to put up a fence or fund a memorial,” he explained. “It’s not extra money - it’s just been top-spliced off budgets. It’s been available since May and I haven’t spent mine yet.

“It’s a little amount of money but it can make a big difference to communities. I know Bradwell Parish Council is looking at a war memorial.

“We’re trialling it for a year and if it works we will continue it.”

Mick Castle, councillor for Central and Northgate ward, has spent £587.50 of his fund on games and equipment for the over 25s youth group at the Priory Centre and flood defence leaflets for the North Yarmouth Resilience Group.

Bert Collins, councillor for Gorleston ward, has spent £500 on skate and hockey equipment for a sports group, and Val Pettit, councillor for Nelson ward, has spent £500 to help Comeunity produce its summer holiday brochure detailing activities for children.

Yarmouth North councillor Colin Fox has put £400 towards subsidising Yarmouth Scout’s summer camp and new radios for Yarmouth Coastwatch, and fellow ward councillor Colin Marsden has also put £100 towards the radios.

Barry Coleman, councillor for West Flegg ward, spent £900 on repairs to St Mary’s Church footpath, and Ormesby councillor Jim Shrimplin put £400 towards the cutting of a footpath in Ormesby.

Lee Sutton, councillor for Central and Northgate ward, spent £642 on helping Home Start Great Yarmouth and District branch.

And Fleggburgh councillor David Thompson has already spent his full £2,000 fund, splitting it four ways between Filby, Fleggburgh, Stokesby and Mautby parish councils.

He said he felt this the “fairest” way to distribute the money in his ward - as he is the sole ward councillor there - and everybody seemed happy with the arrangement.

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