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Cash allowance is doubled after vote

PUBLISHED: 15:35 17 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:11 03 March 2010

COUNCILLORS have agreed to double their allowances for serving Ipswich borough each year.

Members of Ipswich Borough Council voted to increase their total allowance package from £119,903 a year to £239,973 a year.

COUNCILLORS have agreed to double their allowances for serving Ipswich borough each year.

Members of Ipswich Borough Council voted to increase their total allowance package from £119,903 a year to £239,973 a year.

Each of the 48 councillors will, with immediate effect, receive a basic rate of £3,280 annually – with that figure rising, depending on their responsibilities within the authority, up to £13,120 for the council leader.

A review panel, including the Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, the Rt Rev Richard Lewis, last year assessed councillors' "value for money".

Councillors debated a report last night based on the panel's findings, which said all borough council members should receive "a realistic basic allowance" of £3,280, plus a further entitlement of £340 if they had to pay a carer or minder for a dependant relative.

The leader of the council, currently Peter Gardiner, will receive an additional £9,840, taking his allowance to £13,120.

His deputy, David Ellesmere, will receive an additional £6,888 and portfolio holders – those in charge of the council's policy bodies – will collect another £6,560.

Those holding the office of mayor and opposition leader will receive an additional £3,280.

Mr Gardiner (Lab, Whitton) defended the rise and said it was a reflection of the commitment of councillors to their work.

Eric Grant (Lab, St Clement's) supported the recommendation and hoped it might encourage more women and younger people to become councillors.

"It's essential if we are to get rid of the geriatric brigade. This council resembles the House of Lords and people out there don't want that," he added.

The panel's recommendations were approved, with David Brown (Con, St Margaret's), Dale Jackson (Con, Castle Hill) and Howard Davies (Con, Castle Hill) abstaining.

Gordon Terry (Con, Bixley) voted against the recommendations, saying he was not against remuneration to cover expenses, but was concerned at the varying levels between councillors.

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