Rise in Suffolk Coastal allowances

SUFFOLK Coastal members saw their allowances increase by more than ten per cent last year, The Evening Star can reveal today.Council leader Ray Herring receives the largest allowance – a total of £11,000 a year.

SUFFOLK Coastal members saw their allowances increase by more than ten per cent last year, The Evening Star can reveal today.

Council leader Ray Herring receives the largest allowance – a total of £11,000 a year.

But this is still £1,000 less than an independent panel had recommended he should receive.

The panel was set up in 2003 to review councillors' expenses and suggested a basic allowance of £3,000 a year with the leader of the council earning an extra £9,000 on top of that.

In the event the council voted to pay themselves £2,750 each a year, with £8,250 for the council leader.

Overall the council paid a total of £218,000 in allowances and expenses during the financial year 2004/5 – compared with £190,000 the previous year.

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Mr Herring said the increases had been pegged back from the recommendations to keep down council tax bills.

He said: "We have a Council committed to successfully providing efficient, value for money services and it is important that councillors are adequately recompensed for the considerable time and commitment involved, and the level of responsibility.

"However, I believe the scaling back of the recommended increases demonstrates a sensitivity to budgetary pressures and the concerns of Council Tax Payers."

However while the councillors received more last year, there were fewer council officers earning big money.

In 2003/4 nine council officials earned more than £50,000. Last year only three earned that figure or above.

And while the highest salary in 2003/4 was in the range £110,000 to £120,000, the highest salary in 2004/5 was in the range £60,000 to £70,000.

This is because former chief executive Tom Griffin retired and his successor Jan Ormondroyd only arrived well into the financial year.

The amount the council spent on publicity fell significantly last year – from £288,000 to £214,000.

The biggest single fall was in the amount it spent on promoting tourism and leisure facilities which fell from £109,000 to £78,000.

The figures are revealed in the council's accounts, which are due to be discussed by the full council meeting on Thursday evening.

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