Which Norfolk county councillors voted to increase their allowances?
- Credit: Archant
The decision by Conservative and independent councillors to award themselves an allowance increase has been branded as 'unbelievable' by one of the county's MPs.
Norfolk county councillors voted, by 39 votes to 26, with two abstentions, to increase the basic allowance from £9,401 to £10,500 a year - despite an independent panel recommending it should stay at the current level.Conservative leader Cliff Jordan's special responsibility allowance is going up to £31,700 from £27,495, while the chairs of adult social care and children's services committees will get an increase from £13,747 to £15,809.
Mr Jordan defended the increase – £142,000 among the 84 councillors – saying those serving in Norfolk got less than comparable counties.
But the Liberal Democrats voted against it, as did Labour, who have set up a petition and want to donate their share to charity.
And Norman Lamb, Liberal Democrat MP for North Norfolk criticised the decision's timing, given the council is consulting over millions of pounds of cuts and savings.
He said: 'It is unbelievable. I think that restraint has to be demonstrated and while the county council is embarking on quite a dramatic programme of cuts this sends out an incredible signal to the public.
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'Cliff Jordan and I have similar views on the need to reform the way councils are run and their structure here in Norfolk. In those circumstances councillors would have more responsibility and it would be right to pay them more. But not now.'
Norwich South MP Clive Lewis said: 'Given the deep cuts they already have and are about to inflict on some of the most vulnerable people across the county, I think they should review their decision.
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'The optics of this are awful and undermine what is already a shaky public belief in politics and politicians.
'I think even Marie Antoinette would have struggled to justify this one.'
North West Norfolk Conservative MP Sir Henry Bellingham said he had the greatest admiration for the county councillors who work tirelessly and have to travel long distances.
But he added: 'There is never a good time for such increases in allowances, and I can understand the public disappointment.'
These are the 39 councillors who voted for the increase in allowances:
Tony Adams (C – Drayton and Horsford)
David Bills (C – Humbleyard)
Bill Borrett (C – Elmham and Mattishall)
Claire Bowes (C – Watton)
Roy Brame (C – Thetford East)
Mike Castle (I – Yarmouth North and Central)
Ed Colman (C – Swaffham)
Stuart Dark (C – Dersingham)
Margaret Dewsbury (C – Hingham)
Philip Duigan (C – Dereham South)
Fabian Eagle (C – The Brecks)
Simon Eyre (C – Freebridge Lynn)
Tom FitzPatrick (C – Fakenham)
Colin Foulger (C – Forehoe)
Tom Garrod (C – Wroxham)
Andy Grant (C – Lothingland)
Shelagh Gurney (C – Hellesdon)
Ron Hanton (C – East Flegg)
Michael Chenery of Horsburgh (C – Docking)
Harry Humphrey (C – Marshland South)
Brian Iles (C – Acle)
Andrew Jamieson (C – North Coast)
Cliff Jordan (C – Yare and All Saints)
Keith Kiddie (C – Diss and Roydon)
Mark Kiddle-Morris (C – Necton and Launditch)
Graham Middleton (C – Gayton and Nar Valley)
Judy Oliver (C – Sheringham)
Richard Price (C – Smallburgh)
William Richmond (C – Dereham North)
Carl Smith (C – Breydon)
Sandra Squire (I – Marshland North)
Barry Stone (C – Loddon)
Margaret Stone (C – Clavering)
Martin Storey (C – Feltwell)
Haydn Thirtle (C – West Flegg)
Alison Thomas (C – Long Stratton)
Victor Thomson (C – Henstead)
John Ward (C – Sprowston)
Tony White (C – Downham Market)
These are the 26 who voted against:
Tim Adams (LD – Cromer)
Steffan Aquarone (LD – Melton Constable)
Julie Brociek-Coulton (L – Sewell)
Sarah Butikoffer (LD – Holt)
Stuart Clancy (C – Taverham)
Kim Clipsham (L – Wensum)
David Collis (L – North and Central)
Emma Corlett (L – Town Close)
Nigel Dixon (C – Stalham)
Tim East (LD – Costessey)
Terry Jermy (L – Thetford West)
Brenda Jones (L – Lakenham)
Chris Jones (L – Thorpe Hamlet)
Steve Morphew (L – Catton Grove)
George Nobbs (L – Crome)
Andrew Proctor (C – Blofield and Brundall)
Dan Roper (LD – Hevingham and Spixworth)
David Rowntree (L – University)
Chrissie Rumsby (L – Mile Cross)
Mike Sands (L – Bowthorpe)
Eric Seward (LD – North Walsham East)
Mike Smith-Clare (L – Yarmouth Nelson and Southtown)
Marie Strong (LD – Wells)
John Timewell (LD – North Walsham and Erpingham)
Colleen Walker (L – Magdalen)
Brian Watkins (LD – Eaton)
These are the two who abstained:
John Fisher (C – Woodside)
Graham Plant (C – Gorleston St Andrews)
And these are the 17 who were absent:
Stephen Askew (C – Guiltcross)
Jess Barnard (L – Nelson)
Penny Carpenter (C – Caister-on-Sea)
Danny Douglas (L – Mancroft)
David Harrison (LD – Aylsham)
Alexandra Kemp (I – Clenchwarton and King's Lynn South)
Brian Long (C – Fincham)
Ian Mackie (C – Thorpe St Andrew)
Edward Maxfield (LD – Mundesley)
Joe Mooney (C – Wymondham)
Rhodri Oliver (C – Attleborough)
Greg Peck (C – Reepham)
Thomas Smith (C – Gaywood South)
Bev Spratt (C – West Depwade)
Karen Vincent (C – Old Catton)
Martin Wilby (C – East Depwade)
Sheila Young (C – Gaywood North and Central)
Key: C=Conservative, I=Indepedent, L=Labour, LD=Liberal Democrat.
Why do councillors get allowances and what are they going up by?
Councillors do not get a salary, but they do receive allowances in recognition of the work which they do to serve their communities.
All Norfolk County Councillors are entitled to a basic allowance, which was £9,401 for 2017/18 and will now go up to £10,500 – an increase of 11pc.
Councillors with special responsibilities, such as leader of the council or chair of one of the council's committees get an extra amount – a special responsibility allowance.
As leader, Cliff Jordan was entitled to £27,495, but that has now increased to £31,700. That is an increase of 15pc.
Service committee chairs were entitled to £13,747, but that has been increased to £15,809 for the chairs of adult social care and children's service, in recognition of the scale of their responsibilities.
Councillors are also entitled to travel allowances and subsistence rates, although the later can only be claimed in 'exceptional circumstances'.