Suffolk: Council leader Mark Bee defends rise in allowances as backbench councillors set to get an extra £102 a year

Mark Bee, leader of Suffolk County Council. Mark Bee, leader of Suffolk County Council.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014
2:01 PM

Members of Suffolk County Council are likely to get a 1% increase in their allowances next month.

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The move, coming as the result of a report from an independent panel, is likely to get the backing of the ruling Conservative group – and was defended by council leader Mark Bee.

He said the rise was modest and the allowances would be set for four years. There was no possibility of any further increase until 2018.

The move would see backbench councillors’ allowances increase from £10,172 a year to £10,274 – a rise of £102 a year.

Mr Bee’s leader’s allowance would go up from a total of £35,602 a year to £35,958 a year, an increase of £356 a year. Cabinet members, political group leaders and council committee chairs would also see their allowances go up by 1%.

There would a new special responsibility payment of £7,705 a year for the chairman of the health and wellbeing board – currently Joanna Spicer.

The allowances for car use would not change – but there would be a slight increase in mileage allowances for councillors who use a motorcycle or bicycle.

Mr Bee said: “This is not an annual rise. Once the allowances are set they are in place for the next four years. I’m minded to propose we accept this report.”

He said that as the proposal was drawn up by an independent body, chaired by former county councillor Dr Alan Lower, it either had to be accepted or rejected in its entirety. It could not be changed by the council.

“The council staff are having a 1% rise this year. If they had not been given a rise there is no way I could have accepted this but as it is, this is a very modest increase that I think I could support.”

The main opposition Labour group will be discussing its response to the proposal before next week’s full meeting of the county council.

Deputy group leader Bryony Rudkin said councillors were put in an invidious position of having to vote on their own allowances.

She said: “I would rather see the rate set centrally, weighted for different parts of the country, so we do not have the situation of voting on what we are paid.”

There were still concerns about the pay for some workers employed indirectly by the council – some were on zero hours contracts that her party is pledged to phasing out.

“Any change in the allowance has to be seen in a wider context, but we will discuss it before deciding how to vote.”

Mr Bee pointed out that any councillor who felt uncomfortable about accepting the increase was at liberty to continue to be paid the current rate.

18 comments

  • Mark Bee and his fellow cronies should be ashamed at the performance of their council. They should read the damning verdict of Ofsted before rewarding themselves. They need to hold their officers to account and stop this County being a laughing stock. Do your job we'll and get rewarded, do it badly and clear off!

    Report this comment

    peter sadler

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • I say they are worth 3 times what they get now don't you all .now that should upset red Manning,

    Report this comment

    pandy

    Thursday, March 13, 2014

  • Mark Bee and his fellow cronies should be ashamed at the performance of their council. They should read the damning verdict of Ofsted before rewarding themselves. They need to hold their officers to account and stop this County being a laughing stock. Do your job we'll and get rewarded, do it badly and clear off!

    Report this comment

    peter sadler

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • Mark Bee and his fellow cronies should be ashamed at the performance of their council. They should read the damning verdict of Ofsted before rewarding themselves. They need to hold their officers to account and stop this County being a laughing stock. Do your job we'll and get rewarded, do it badly and clear off!

    Report this comment

    peter sadler

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • "A modest" rise that was denied to their council employees for many years. These so called "expenses" are presumably in addition to their salaries in their "real" jobs. How many of these County councillors are also Borough or District councillors as well, and thus presumably pocket similar "expenses" from both councils. Nice little earner in that case wouldn't you say "2 Tickets To The Gun Show"?!

    Report this comment

    england1770

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • Perhaps someone can explain exactly what backbench means in this instance. Are these the elected councillors and if so how can they justify receiving over £200 per week tax free? It would be interesting to learn how these so called expenses are used but I doubt they spend anywhere near that sum in the execution of their 'voluntary' services. The 'independent' (joke) panel must have figures supplied in order to decide the worth of any councillor but what exactly is its remit and who sets the parameters? A shameful move like this is insensitive to say the least in a time of great austerity but then, it's only tax payers' money being used isn't it?

    Report this comment

    Cynical Sid

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • Terence I am not clear what you are suggesting?! I don't work for the council, however I do know councillors albeit IBC. I know for a fact their activities cost them money! they certainly don't get a handsome subsidy. One thing I will reiterate though; if you think you can contribute to the uplifting of the town with your ideas etc why not get involved instead of picking holes in those that do try. Its really easy to make everyone happy and make tough decisions! Being a keyboard warrior all your life is certainly not very fulfilling.

    Report this comment

    Rory Breaker

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • Mark Bee and his fellow cronies should be ashamed at the performance of their council. They should read the damning verdict of Ofsted before rewarding themselves. They need to hold their officers to account and stop this County being a laughing stock. Do your job we'll and get rewarded, do it badly and clear off!

    Report this comment

    peter sadler

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • I'd also point out to england1770 that council staff are getting 1% this year, but that councillors allowances will be frozen now for four years - having not had a rise in several years. It is iniquitous that councillors have to vote on their own pay, but this faux outrage every few years really is small minded. Would you rather all your councillors were retired white men? Oh hang on...

    Report this comment

    IpswichSpy

    Thursday, March 13, 2014

  • tickets to the gun show , your comments are not in the same league as the other comments [ a bit high brow]which suggests you are quite close to the council.as i am 80 years old this year i do spend a lot of time on the comp. i spent several years in engineering in ipswich and i would like to help to change ipswich but it is beyond help [ no more wise heads only nimbys] all the best tm

    Report this comment

    TERENCE MANNING

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • How did you get your comment on this site 2 tickets to the gun show I have had two turned down by this labour rag sheet because I said thing against bob crow

    Report this comment

    pandy

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • Mark Bee and his fellow cronies should be ashamed at the performance of their council. They should read the damning verdict of Ofsted before rewarding themselves. They need to hold their officers to account and stop this County being a laughing stock. Do your job we'll and get rewarded, do it badly and clear off!

    Report this comment

    peter sadler

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • Mark Bee...... Best "Bee" gone. Start living in the real world. One rule got them, and another rule for the real people. No rises for us..... Sorry there are rises for us. Elect bill, gas bills most bills to name but a few.

    Report this comment

    Ipswich Man

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • no wonder mark bee or is it tickets to the gun show is rubbing his hands or is he trying to get a rash to claim compo.

    Report this comment

    TERENCE MANNING

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • Mark Bee defends the rise in allowances ?, well now, most of the population of Suffolk are completely fed up with NOT being listened to !, OUR Road Infrastructure is positively ancient and has had NO real investment for decades !, BUT who cares ?, as long as the councillors get their inflated salaries and increases in Allowances NOTHING IS GOING TO CHANGE ! is it ??

    Report this comment

    freedomf

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • most councillors earn very little from acting on behalf of their community! I think you guys need to actually speak to your local councillor and find out what remuneration they actually get!! Added to which, how easy do you think it is to speakact on behalf of the population? would you do it? you need to wake up to the realisation that being a councillor is not a highly paid job unless you sit at the top of the tree. And finally, councillors pay taxes, electricity, gas etc too so don't assume its a life full of subsidy.

    Report this comment

    Rory Breaker

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • most councillors earn very little from acting on behalf of their community! I think you guys need to actually speak to your local councillor and find out what remuneration they actually get!! Added to which, how easy do you think it is to speakact on behalf of the population? would you do it? you need to wake up to the realisation that being a councillor is not a highly paid job unless you sit at the top of the tree. And finally, councillors pay taxes, electricity, gas etc too so don't assume its a life full of subsidy.

    Report this comment

    Rory Breaker

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • Cynical Sid I think you must be misunderstanding this article. Nobody in elected office is paid tax free. County Councillors are paid just over £10k a year, but they pay tax on it just like anyone else. They represent thousands of people, and the role is calculated as being worth at least £20k a year in salary - half of which is expected to be taken as a voluntary role. However County Councillors are paid three times that of Borough Councillors. They represent more people, but they don't really have much more work to do.

    Report this comment

    IpswichSpy

    Thursday, March 13, 2014

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