Ipswich: Councillors to debate allowance increases

MEMBERS of the borough council are being recommended to increase their allowances by five per cent at next week’s full council meeting.

But today it looks as if the ruling Labour group will vote against the recommendation – leaving allowances unchanged.

An independent panel has looked at allowances paid by the borough and recommended that the basic allowance should be increased from �3,745 to �3,940 a year.

From 2014 there would be an annual increase of 1pc. Special responsibility allowances for members of the executive and for the leader of the main opposition party would increase slightly – although some allowances would be cut or abolished altogether.

Overall the allowance bill would increase from �179,760 to �189,120 next year – an increase of fractionally over 0.5pc.

Council leader David Ellesmere said the ruling Labour group had not yet decided its stance, but personally he would be voting against any change.

He said: “I believe, and this is a personal point of view, that as council staff have had a wage freeze for the last three years it would be wrong to accept any increase, however small.

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“I don’t know what view the group will take – but I would be surprised if it was different to that.”

Opposition leader John Carnall said there had been a great deal of work put into the report.

“In effect it is saying that the overall pot should remain the same but there should be a small increase in basic allowances but a reduction or abolition of some special allowances. That seems fair.”

He said special payments for chairing area panels was a case of the Labour administration giving extra money to some of the councillors for simply doing their job.

“If you set up an independent review panel, there is a reasonable case for taking account of what they say.”

n Should council allowances increase? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail starletters@archant.co.uk