Letter: Rebecca Elliott February 6, 2018

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In relation to the recent decision to increase county councillor allowances, I would like to draw attention to the fact that, with one exception, every councillor who voted in favour was a Conservative councillor and every councillor who voted against, again with one Independent exception, was either Liberal Democrat or Labour.

Cliff Jordan (Conservative) defended the allowance increase on the basis that “Norfolk county council councillors are one of the worst paid”. Councillors in Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, North Yorkshire, Leicestershire, Cumbria and Oxfordshire all receive less, according to their websites and I didn’t check them all. Councillors in the Isle of Wight took a pay cut in 2015 and it has stayed at £7,700 ever since.

It is interesting to look at the attendance rates of councillors. They are all online, but not everyone uses the internet. Here are a few examples:

Claire Bowes (Watton) 69%; Penny Carpenter (Caister-on-Sea) 60%; Stuart Clancy (Taverham) 77%; Fabian Eagle (The Brecks) 60%; Rhodri Oliver (Attleborough) 60%; Sandra Squires (Marshland North) 60% (Independent); Tony White (Downham t) 77%; Sheila Young (Gaywood North and Central) 40%. These are the lowest attenders. Of those who have 100% attendance, 48% are Labour councillors, 27% Lib Dems and only 25% are Conservatives. So those with worst attendance all voted for more money.

There are lots of reasons why people might not be able to attend meetings but, generally speaking, a 40% attendance record at work would result in some kind of warning or even dismissal. When self-employed, contract or agency staff don’t turn up they don’t get paid at all. This is our money. We deserve better.