For once I find myself agreeing with Jo Rust (and no it does not mean I will vote for her – sorry Jo) concerning the increase of 11 per cent in Norfolk county councillors’ allowances.
I can recall a time when if you stood for council either at borough level or county council level, you did it for the benefit of the community not to line your own pockets. And to add insult to injury, they wish to impose a six per cent increase in the council tax. Parish councillors, of which I am one, do not charge for allowances or for travelling expenses. Many of us don’t even charge for a stamp! So why should councillors at borough and county level be any different? It’s a vocation not a job and don’t get me on contributions to pensions. They get travelling expenses to County Hall. They should not need anything else. They claim that allowances are necessary to get the best councillors. Well having seen the ones we have, I beg to differ.
I have some suggestions: Halve the number of county councillors – we won’t notice the difference anyway, get rid of all the double hatters who claim from both borough and county regardless of conflicts of interest – you cannot serve two masters.
Better still get rid of the county council completely and cascade any money down to the boroughs who know best how to spend it and be responsible for their own areas.
If you must keep a county council, and I remain to be convinced it is worth the money we pay in council tax, then reduce them to travelling expenses only. I am sure they will get free tea, coffee and biscuits at county hall to sustain them.