Union boss condemns Norfolk County Council allowance hike

County Hall Norwich

Union leaders have condemned Norfolk county councillors’ refusal to overturn plans to increase their allowances by more than 10 per cent.

A motion calling for the hike, which was implemented last month, to be reversed was defeated at a special meeting in Norwich on Monday.

Council leaders have insisted the measure will not cost taxpayers any more money, by using a surplus in the allowance budget.

But Chris Jenkinson, regional general secretary of Unison, said council staff who had borne the brunt of budget cuts in recent years would feel “let down” by the vote.

He said: “This decision is disgusting and highlights how far removed councillors are from what’s happening to communities across Norfolk.

“It’s astonishing that councillors see fit to line their own pockets at a time when £125 million worth of cuts need to be made to services across the county.

“Hopefully these out of touch local politicians can be persuaded by local residents, even at this late stage, to change their minds.”

The allowance decision comes just a few weeks before the county council sets its budget for the coming financial year, where council tax could rise by nearly six per cent.

But council leader Cliff Jordan defended the rise, telling Monday’s meeting: “This isn’t any extra cost on anybody, because it is already there in the budget. It is not a big increase on council tax.

Dersingham councillor Stuart Dark, acting chairman of its children’s services committee, said every councillor had made a commitment to serve and that he would stand before voters at the next election in 2021 on his record, not the allowance issue.

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