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Bumper pay rise fury

PUBLISHED: 08:19 21 May 2002 | UPDATED: 11:57 03 March 2010

BUMPER pay increases to public servants in Mid Suffolk have been branded "disgraceful"

Councillors could be in line for huge hikes in their allowances, with their leader alone receiving more than £4,000 extra a year.

BUMPER pay increases to public servants in Mid Suffolk have been branded "disgraceful"

Councillors could be in line for huge hikes in their allowances, with their leader alone receiving more than £4,000 extra a year.

Mid Suffolk district councillors will this week debate the proposed rises outlined by an independent panel.

Under the new system every one of the 40 district councillors would see their basic allowance increase by more than £1,000 from £1,545 to £2,658.

The leader of the Liberal Democrat/Labour run authority, Penny Otton, would also see her additional special responsibility allowance (SRA) jump from £3,708 to £6,645.

With savings made elsewhere, the total increased cost to the taxpayer would be an extra £33,000 every year.

Chairman of the council, currently Tony Fowler but expected to be Vivienne Hoy from Thursday, would be among those benefiting from SRAs, seeing her's go up from £1,236 to £2,658.

Councillors, who are already is entitled to £20.82 a month for internet connections to log on to the council's e-mail system, would also be entitled to a maximum of £5 an hour towards childcare and £8 an hour towards dependant's care.

A report to the council from the independent panel, consisting of a college professor, a company managing director and a retired council director, found that the current allowances were not generous.

The group found that councillors were extremely hard working and committed, the leader had an extremely demanding and time consuming role and the chairman a high workload with ceremonial duties.

But Ian Mason, mayor of Needham Market, said such rises would be a disgrace and people should serve their communities out of a sense of public spirit.

He said: "It's disgraceful. It's a public service. Scouts have their leaders, people do things for the community. It's about putting something back.''

Mrs Otton, leader, was unavailable yesterday. But chairwoman elect Mrs Hoy said: "Some members are having to give up jobs to do the work. If we do not give people the proper remuneration they will not stand for office.

"We are looking for younger members and you can't expect a younger man with a family to work for what we do.

"We are not doing this for the money, but there should be better remuneration.''

A spokeswoman for the council said: "Our recommended basic allowance will be lower than Babergh and Ipswich. The childcare allowance is new. However, it is anticipated that only a handful will take this up in practice.''

In a report to councillors head of corporate support Ian Rickard said there was no budget for the extra £33,000.

He said initially it could be found largely from the reserves, but later would need to come from council tax rises or through savings.

Mid Suffolk council's annual meeting will debate the proposed rises from 5.30pm tomorrow during their meeting in the authority's Needham Market chambers.


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