Suffolk: Top local politician Mark Bee is paid �40k allowances

SUFFOLK: The county’s top local politician earns well over �40,000 a year in allowances before expenses are included, The Ipswich Star can reveal today.

And all members of the county’s cabinet earn more than �25,000 a year from their council work.

Leader Mark Bee is the top earner at the county council.

He is paid a basic allowance of �10,172 which goes to all councillors. He is also paid a special responsibility allowance of �27,973 as leader of the majority group at the council. And he earns �3,535 as a backbench member of Waveney Council.

That brings his total earning from allowances to �41,680.

Deputy leader Jane Storey is also a backbench member of Mid Suffolk Council. Her earnings from councils total �34,836.

Leaders of boroughs and districts earn less – Ipswich council leader David Ellesmere earns a total of a �14,980 from his work at the Grafton House and also has another job as a software developer at a computer firm.

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At the county, main opposition leader Kathy Pollard earns a total of �19,924.

That includes her basic allowance, special respons-ibility allowance as leader of the largest opposition party, and �3,649 as a backbench member of Babergh council.

Labour group leader Sandy Martin earns a total of �23,441, including a sum as leader of the third largest party and about �11,000 as an executive member of Ipswich council.

Mrs Storey said doing council work effectively took a great deal of time and it was necessary to pay a reasonable allowance to compensate for this.

She said: “The average member of the cabinet will work anything up to 60 hours a week on council-related duties.

“The level of allowances was set by an independent panel in 2006, to bring them in line with neighbouring county councils, and in recognition of the work that they put in.

“There has been no increase in allowances since 2009, and, in recognition of the difficult financial climate, we have just voted to freeze allowances for another year.

“We also have to bear in mind the challenge of attracting new people to stand as candidates.”

Mr Martin said allowances were needed to attract the right kind of people to stand. There was already a high proportion of “active retired” people on councils.

He said: “I am concerned that if there were not reasonable allowances, the only people who would stand would be those with a substantial unearned income, or those who were so dedicated to politics that they have no other interests.”

He has been a full-time councillor for ten years and said there was a great deal of work for him to do on both the borough and county councils.

n Are councillors’ allowances fair? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail

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