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St Edmundsbury councillors reject proposal for rise in allowances

Council leader John Griffiths spoke against increasing his allowance by �361
Council leader John Griffiths spoke against increasing his allowance by �361

St Edmundsbury councillors have rejected a report suggesting increases in allowances.

The borough’s January full council meeting had deferred an allowances report from the West Suffolk Joimnt Independent Remuneration Panel until Tuesday’s meeting to give more time for consideration.

While it suggested no increase in the basic allowance for all councillors, other than incorporating a separately paid £180 broadband payment into it to make it £5,585, it suggested a number of increases for councillors with special responsibilities.

They included raising the council leader’s allowance by £361 to £11,170, the deputy leader’s by £216 to £6,702, portfolio holders by £194.60 to £6,143.50 and changes to payments for many committee chairman and vice-chairmen.

Ian Houlder, cabinet member for resources and performance, put forward an amendment to the panel’s recommendations that all 36 of its suggestions be rejected and the council’s current allowance scheme continues until May 2019.

He said: “While changes to the existing scheme may be required in the future, we do not think this is the right time to do this.”

He said the council had been making decisions that cost jobs and was driving for efficiencies.

Council leader John Griffiths said: “A time when we’re preparing to put up Council Tax wouold not be the time to increase the budget.”

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