Councillors’ allowances frozen

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ALLOWANCES for Suffolk county councillors have been frozen after the authority’s budget was approved last week.

As part of £26 million in budget cuts for the next financial year, members will not see their pay increased – saving £56,000.

The move was an extra amendment to the budget, which will also freeze the authority’s share of next year’s Council Tax bills for a second consecutive year.

Council leader Mark Bee said savings would be made on ‘back office and bureaucracy’ while protecting ‘as much as possible frontline services’.

The budget is the first stage of a two year plan to cut £50 million following a 28 per cent reduction in the amount of money the council receives from the Government.

The majority of cuts for the upcoming finacial year are £12 million by ‘improving efficiency and removing processes’, £8 million in adult care by focusing more investment in prevention and £1.5 million by reducing mangament costs.

Capital investment projects of £115 million include the reorganisation of schools and delivering better broadband for the county.

The plans follows a four-month consultation exercise with partners, councillors, staff and the public.

An amendment by Liberal Democrat councillors with proposals such as the reinstatement of the axed eXplore card and certain bus routes was voted down.

Deputy leader Jane Storey said: “How we spend public money is one of the biggest and most important decisions we have to make in local government.

“The feedback we’ve had from Suffolk people this year has been hugely influential in shaping our approach to tackling the financial challenges we’re facing. Strong financial management has always been a political priority for this administration and I believe we’re in a position to make the most of the resources available to us.”