Lib Dem's call for allowances increases

IPSWICH: Meet the councillor who's happy to be a one-man band calling for an increase in allowances while all his colleagues supported a freeze!

IPSWICH: Meet the councillor who's happy to be a one-man band calling for an increase in allowances while all his colleagues supported a freeze!

Senior Liberal Democrat Richard Atkins urged his fellow councillors to accept a proposal by an independent committee that basic allowances should increase by about eight per cent.

No other councillors backed such a rise and Ipswich Council decided to keep allowances at their current rate of �3,745 a year.

Mr Atkins said an increase was needed to attract younger people on to the council - the current rates did not provide enough compensation for the amount of time they had to devote to council work.


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“I am the average councillor - white, male, just over 59 years old. We have to look at how we get people in their 20s and 30s to get involved in council work - and you have to pay a bit more.

“It's never the right time to increase allowances. We have the same arguments year after year and eventually we have to increase them by about 50 per cent and then there really is an outcry.

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“It is better to accept an independent report like this. I know it's not a popular view but I've become used to being in a minority as a Liberal Democrat!”

Council leader Liz Harsant voted against the proposal and felt that money was not an issue for younger people.

She said: “To be honest whatever money you receive as a councillor is not going to compensate you for the time you spend on council work.

“I don't think the allowances affect the calibre of councillors we have in any way at all and there was no need for an increase.”

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