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Bid to trigger second vote and force u-turn over Norfolk County Council allowances hike

Councillors voted to increase their allowances by 11pc. Pic: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos.

Councillors voted to increase their allowances by 11pc. Pic: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos.

The controversial decision to increase allowances for Norfolk county councillors could be voted on again, with opposition parties keen to trigger a fresh vote.

The council voted on Monday to increase the basic allowance for its 84 councillors by 11pc, despite an independent panel recommending no change.

The panel acknowledged Norfolk councillors get less than counterparts on other councils.

But “mindful” of cuts, they said the basic allowance should remain at £9,401 for next year, with a review in 2018.

However, the Conservative-controlled administration recommended a basic allowance increase to £10,500 and a hike in the special responsibility allowance of the leader from £27,495 to £31,900.

It was agreed by 39 votes to 26, with two abstentions.

MORE: Which Norfolk county councillors voted to increase their allowances?

Increases to allowances for the chair of children’s services and adult social care, which the panel did recommend, were also agreed.

if all councillors claimed what they are entitled to, the bill would come to £142,000.

The decision’s timing sparked criticism, as the council consults over cuts and savings to help plug a £125m funding gap.

Spending on bus subsidies, children’s centres, gritting and road maintenance is all under threat, while there is a mooted council tax rise of 4.9pc.

Labour, the Liberal Democrats and a handful of Conservatives voted against the allowances increase, although Mr Jordan said it was the right thing to do and was about “fairness”.

Labour said they would find a way to donate their increase to charity and Mr Jordan has said he will too.

Steve Morphew and Dan Roper, leader of the opposition Labour and Liberal Democrat groups at County Hall,are looking at whether they could trigger a fresh vote on the matter.

Councillors are able to put forward a motion to change a decision made by the council within the last seven months if it is signed by at least 21 councillors.

But, with no full council scheduled until February, the pair are looking at how to force an extraordinary full council meeting to get a fresh vote.

Mr Morphew said: “We are ready to take the measures to get it rescinded and we could do that in a few days if the Conservatives are happy to do that.”

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