Norfolk county councillors are being urged to reverse a 10 per cent hike in their allowances – just weeks after they voted for it.
Thousands signed an online petition against the increase, which critics dubbed “dirty money”, after it was implemented last month. But a special meeting is now scheduled to take place on Monday to debate a motion calling for the decision to be reversed.
The motion, proposed by Labour group leader Steve Morphew and Liberal Democrat Dan Roper, says: “Council agrees to rescind the resolution passed at Council on 11 December 2017 relating to Councillor allowances and accept the recommendations of the Independent Remuneration Panel.”
And Mr Morphew, who set up a petition via the change.org website in the wake of the vote, has pleaded with residents to contact their councillor ahead of the new vote.
The panel had recommended that the allowances were frozen, although it said an urgent review of their structure was needed in the light of the authority’s plan to revert to a cabinet system of governance next year. But the ruling Conservative administration maintained the rise would bring Norfolk into line with the payments made to members of other county councils and reflected the work expected of members.
During the meeting when the increase was backed, council leader Cliff Jordan warned there was a possibility councillors would not be able to afford to carry out their role without an increase.
But, although the panel said it accepted the need for the current system to be reviewed, it felt there was insufficient evidence to support any firm ideas on how it should be changed.
It added: “Whilst affordability of a scheme is not the primary concern of the panel, we are mindful that the council is currently consulting on significant budgetary reductions. Therefore it is all the more important to make sure that any recommendations on major changes to the scheme are robust and properly evidenced.”