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The EDP says...Undo this mess - reverse wrong decision to increase Norfolk councillors’ allowances

PUBLISHED: 08:58 16 December 2017 | UPDATED: 08:58 16 December 2017

Cliff Jordan. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Cliff Jordan. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

The EDP doesn’t doubt that every single Norfolk county councillor works incredibly hard for the community they represent.

Few, if any, probably do it for the money but still it’s absolutely right they are remunerated accordingly. We also want Norfolk’s allowances to be fair and on a par with similar sized authorities so they can attract the best possible candidates.

Yet, the decision this week to increase basic allowances by around 11pc was not only the wrong one to take, but somewhat foolish. You could argue those who voted in favour were also naïve to think there would not be a backlash. Some have been left thinking they simply didn’t care either way.

To do this at a time when the most vital of services, some helping the most vulnerable of people, are being cut to the bone, is a kick in the teeth to all of those directly impacted by the financial pressures.

Those on the independent panel tasked with recommending remuneration rates realised this, that’s why they proposed no such increases.

This sends out the wrong message at a time when the best thing for Norfolk would be for everyone to rally and face these hardships together.

But it isn’t too late to undo some of the damage caused and do the right thing.

That is why today the EDP is calling on all party leaders within County Hall to find a way to reverse last Monday’s decision.

We understand that all it takes is for enough councillors to come forward and support an extraordinary meeting and the vote could be heard again.

Council leader Cliff Jordan himself has gone on record to say he doesn’t want to accept the money and will give it to charity.

And while that opens up questions as to why he and the majority of his party voted for this in the first place, it suggests there should be no reason he wouldn’t be happy, therefore, to undo what has been done.

Making a pledge to charity is all well and good, but the £142,000 at stake here is badly needed and could be used to support key services.

It’s a hard thing to do, to swallow your pride and admit you were wrong – but it can also be the right thing to do.

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