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Ipswich councillors set to reject £1,000 a year pay rise

PUBLISHED: 11:20 09 September 2020 | UPDATED: 11:20 09 September 2020

David Ellesmere has rejected proposals to increase Ipswich councillors' allowances by £1,000. Picture: ARCHANT

David Ellesmere has rejected proposals to increase Ipswich councillors' allowances by £1,000. Picture: ARCHANT

Councillors in Ipswich seem set to reject a report that would have given them a £1,000 a year pay rise because of the financial pressures faced by the borough as it deals with the covid-19 crisis.

Ipswich Conservative group leader Ian Fisher is allowing his members a free vote on council allowances. Picture: IPSWICH COUNCILIpswich Conservative group leader Ian Fisher is allowing his members a free vote on council allowances. Picture: IPSWICH COUNCIL

The council has an independent remuneration panel, made up of non-councillors, that recommends how much members should be paid. At present the basic allowance is currently £4,326 a year. It goes up in line with council officers’ pay increases every year.

The panel said that councillors in Ipswich earn considerably less than district councillors elsewhere in the region, and recommended that the allowance should be raised by £500 now, and a further £500 next year on top of the normal rise.

This would still leave Ipswich councillors with a smaller allowance than in other parts of Suffolk – last year the average basic allowance in the other four districts in the county was £6,166.

MORE: East Suffolk councillors give themselves a 53% pay rise

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However council leader David Ellesmere said this recommendation would not be accepted by the majority Labour group: “I told the panel that because of the difficult financial position and the fact that we were having to cut services, we would not accept any increase above the existing formula.

“I know they wanted to make a point about the comparative low allowances in Ipswich – but there is no way we can accept this. We will be voting against the increase.”

The report said: “The panel had a duty to recommend an allowances scheme which they considered to be appropriate and it considered that the disparity between the IBC Basic Allowance and those of other similar Councils was too great not to recommend a rise.

Opposition Conservative leader Ian Fisher said his group would be given a free vote on the issue when it is debated at next week’s full council meeting.

He said: “The point of having an independent committee is to take the decision out of the hands of councillors – yet Labour is now telling its members to reject it. My personal view is that this decision should be put off until after the current crisis is over, possibly next year.

“I would like to see fewer councillors paid more – at the moment we have 48 councillors, all in three-member wards, and it is often difficult to get the right calibre of councillor because you don’t get a reasonable reward and some simply do not have to do anything.

“If we had fewer councillors, we could pay them more and we might attract better candidates.”


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