Councillor who moved to Prague will pay back allowances

Rebecca Grattan

Rebecca Grattan, who has resigned as Broadland district councillor for Brundall, almost a year and a half after moving to Prague. - Credit: Avast

A Norfolk councillor, who moved to the Czech Republic 18 months ago but has only just resigned, is to pay back the allowances she claimed during that period.

Conservative Rebecca Grattan got a job with cybersecurity firm Avast in Prague in February 2020 and moved there just before the coronavirus pandemic prevented travel.

Prague Castle with St. Vitus Cathedral over Lesser town (Mala Strana) at sunset, Czech Republic

Prague. - Credit: Vladislav Zolotov/iStock/Getty Images Plus

But it was only at the end of last month that she resigned from her role as Brundall councillor with Broadland District Council.

Ms Grattan had been taking part, virtually, in council meetings, which were being held online, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

She was recorded as present for seven of 10 full council meetings between February last year and May this year.

But another councillor had been asked to stand in for her at meetings of Brundall Parish Council.

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She had claimed the basic allowance for councillors, which is £4,962 a year, for the months up to her July resignation - but has now confirmed she will pay that back.

In a statement, she said: "I was delighted to become a councillor at Broadland District Council in May 2019 and looked forward to supporting and representing my parishes - Brundall, Cantley, Strumpshaw and Postwick.

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"My current professional role is for a UK plc, headquartered in Prague.

"As a result of coronavirus, I have been almost exclusively based in Czechia with very limited opportunity for return to the UK, since mid March 2020. 

"I am grateful to my fellow councillors and the officers at Broadland for supporting my parishes during this time, as it has been difficult for me to do so.

"Several times over the past months, it has appeared hopeful that the clinical and travel situation might improve. However, travel remains very unpredictable, and consequently I am unlikely to be regularly in the UK for some months.

"Therefore, I reluctantly reached the decision that I would need to resign.

"I am very disappointed that I am unable to continue to represent the community I love and where I have very strong connections. 

"I think it is right that Broadland, and specifically my parishes, are not disadvantaged by my changed circumstances.

"Therefore, I have arranged for my councillors allowance for the period that I have been absent to be returned.

"I wish health, happiness and every success to the residents, members and officers of Broadland and hope to return to see family and colleagues when restrictions allow."

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