Political row over allowances

COUNTY councillors in Suffolk have given themselves increases of 25per cent in their allowances but a number from all parties voted against - with some indicating they would refuse to take the extra cash at a time when the authority was making savage cuts in social care.

COUNTY councillors in Suffolk have given themselves increases of 25per cent in their allowances but a number from all parties voted against - with some indicating they would refuse to take the extra cash at a time when the authority was making savage cuts in social care.

Infuriated Liberal Democrats afterwards issued a statement accusing the Tories of “lining their own pockets” as councillors voted 48-15 with two abstentions to increase the basic allowance from £7,173 a year to £9,000.

Council leader Jeremy Pembroke will see his total remuneration rise 45pc to more than £30,000 and his deputy Sue Sida-Lockett's package goes up to £24,750.

Labour leader Julian Swainson's remuneration will be £18,450 while Lib Dem leader Kathy Pollard will see her total go up to £12,600 is she decides to accept the new allowance.


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Councillors approved the recommendations of an independent remuneration panel led by former Lib Dem county councillor Dr Alan Lower, who urged members to vote in favour of the rises because they were “a fair reward for the work and responsibilities of county councillors in Suffolk.”

Labour's David Thomas voted against the increase at a time when millions of pounds were being cut in council services to some of the most vulnerable in society. He indicated he would refuse the rise, as did Tory Russell Harsant.

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And Lib Dem Andrew Cann said after the debate: “The Conservatives have justified this unprecedented increase in their allowances by claiming it will increase participation of the young in the political process. Nothing could be further from the truth.

“Last year, the Tories blocked an attempt to have councillors' meeting hours amended to be more family friendly and to reflect the most appropriate times for working people.

“It appears the Tories are prepared to line their own pockets under the cloak of encouraging younger people in to democracy.”

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