Revealed: What did your Norfolk county councillor do with their allowance increase?
Conservative Norfolk county councillors were advised not to reveal if they decided not to claim a controversial allowances increase or if they had donated their extra money to charity.
This newspaper emailed all 84 councillors to ask if they had accepted the increase and whether they intended to donate it to charity or to community projects.
A number of councillors, including council leader Cliff Jordan and others from across the political spectrum at County Hall, had previously indicated they would make donations to charity.
But only a handful of Conservative councillors responded to our request, after Mr Jordan sent his party colleagues an email advising them not to reply.
In the message, Mr Jordan wrote: “I would advise that you do not reply to this email as this will be a never ending process.
“We need to hold the line on expenses and be united. This is only the first skirmish we have had with the paper, Unison and the Labour group working together. There will be many more. United we stand divided we fall.”
When we contacted him, Mr Jordan said he would not answer any further questions on the issue, which he likened to a “witch hunt”.
Before Christmas the council voted by 39 votes to 26, with two abstentions, to increase the basic allowance from £9,401 to £10,500 a year.
The decision came despite an independent panel saying the basic allowance should stay at the current level, bar any percentage increase local authority staff were awarded.
That panel had acknowledged allowances for Norfolk councillors lagged behind comparable counties and a fundamental review was needed - but that should not happen until next year.
But Mr Jordan said there was never a good time to make the increase and it was important councillors were properly compensated for the work they do for the public.
In January, the council rejected a Labour/Liberal Democrat motion to reverse the decision by 36 votes to 28 - so the extra cash has started to be paid, backdated to last May.
The increase, which costs £140,000, has been funded through an underspend in the allowances budget.
What did your councillor tell us they did with their allowances?
Tony Adams (C – Drayton and Horsford) Did not respond
Tim Adams (LD – Cromer) Spent £65 helping a constituent with an urgent housing issue. Anticipates the rest will be spent on local projects and initiatives
Steffan Aquarone (LD – Melton Constable) Created a seed funding pot for community projects across my division. Also mulled wine to encourage local people to come to a meeting at Melton Constable Country Club to discuss its future, Land Registry searches to assist local Parish Council matters and a contribution towards assessing options for reducing the speed limit through the B1110 in Briningham
Stephen Askew (C – Guiltcross) Did not respond
Jess Barnard (L – Nelson) Donated £200 to Leeway, and have been in touch with the Red Balloon Centre and City of Sanctuary organisation with the hope of donating the same sum to each of these. This month’s increase donated to Shelter
David Bills (C – Humbleyard) Did not respond
Bill Borrett (C – Elmham and Mattishall) Did not respond
Claire Bowes (C – Watton) Did not respond
Roy Brame (C – Thetford East) Did not respond
(L – Sewell) Did not accept increase
Sarah Butikoffer (LD – Holt) Intends to give to community projects
Penny Carpenter (C – Caister-on-Sea) Did not respond
Mick Castle (I – Yarmouth North and Central) Accepted increase and said: “I always aim to earn my allowances.”
Michael Chenery of Horsburgh (C – Docking) Did not respond
Stuart Clancy (C – Taverham) Voted against increase at full council and informed the council he would not accept it.
Kim Clipsham (L – Wensum) Passing allowance rise to the early years centre in West Earlham
David Collis (L – North and Central) Donating to armed forces charities
Ed Colman (C – Swaffham) Did not respond
Emma Corlett (L – Town Close) Donations to Mind the Gap, Norfolk Community Law Service, Friends of Wherry School and to the Diocese fund for internet connection for newly arrived refuge families, shopping for destitute resident and food and essentials for family in crisis
Stuart Dark (C – Dersingham) Did not respond
Margaret Dewsbury (C – Hingham) Did not respond
Nigel Dixon (C – Stalham) Did not respond
Danny Douglas (L – Mancroft) Donating to St Edmunds Society
Philip Duigan (C – Dereham South) Did not respond
Fabian Eagle (C – The Brecks) Did not respond
Tim East (LD – Costessey) Did not respond
Simon Eyre (C – Freebridge Lynn) Did not respond
John Fisher (C – Woodside) Did not respond
Tom FitzPatrick (C – Fakenham) Did not respond
Colin Foulger (C – Forehoe) Did not respond
Tom Garrod (C – Wroxham) Did not respond
Andy Grant (C – Lothingland) Did not accept increase
Shelagh Gurney (C – Hellesdon) Did not respond
Ron Hanton (C – East Flegg) Did not respond
David Harrison (LD – Aylsham) Intends to donate to charity
Harry Humphrey (C – Marshland South) Did not respond
Brian Iles (C – Acle) Did not respond
Andrew Jamieson (C – North Coast) Did not respond
Terry Jermy (L – Thetford West) Donated £685.01 in backdated pay to the Thetford Citizens Advice bureau. Similar donations to good causes will be made in the future
Brenda Jones (L – Lakenham) Donations to Lakenham Primary School, Community Action Norwich and Friends of Jubilee Park
Chris Jones (L – Thorpe Hamlet) Donations to Friends of Rosary Cemetery, Old Library Wood Collective, Friends of Kett’s Heights and Norfolk Mustard crowdfunding appeal
Cliff Jordan (C – Yare and All Saints) Did not respond
Alexandra Kemp (I – Clenchwarton and King’s Lynn South) Will use it to fund projects in her division
Keith Kiddie (C – Diss and Roydon) Did not respond
Mark Kiddle-Morris (C – Necton and Launditch) Did not respond
Brian Long (C – Fincham) Have paid the tax on the earnings and will spend it privately.
Ian Mackie (C – Thorpe St Andrew) Did not respond
Edward Maxfield (LD – Mundesley) Intends to donate to charities
Graham Middleton (C – Gayton and Nar Valley) Did not respond
Joe Mooney (C – Wymondham) Did not respond
Steve Morphew (L – Catton Grove) Donations to Connects & Co, Catton Grove Community Centre and Friends of Waterloo Park.
George Nobbs (L – Crome) Donations to East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices, Sightsavers and for the appeal to restore the original Samson from outside the Samson and Hercules in Norwich
Judy Oliver (C – Sheringham) Did not respond
Rhodri Oliver (C – Attleborough) Did not respond
Greg Peck (C – Reepham) Did not respond
Graham Plant (C – Gorleston St Andrews) Renounced rise and backdated payment
Richard Price (C – Smallburgh) Did not respond
Andrew Proctor (C – Blofield and Brundall) “I made my position clear when this was considered by voting against the increase. As a result I have notified the council that I am not taking the increased allowance.”
William Richmond (C – Dereham North) Did not respond
Dan Roper (LD – Hevingham and Spixworth) Donated to three community organisations
David Rowntree (L – University) Giving it to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital Charity Fund
Chrissie Rumsby (L – Mile Cross) Donated to St Martins Housing, Mile Cross Primary School and a Mile Cross community project
Mike Sands (L – Bowthorpe) Donations to Mow and Grow in Bowthorpe and Stand Easy, an armed forces charity
Eric Seward (LD – North Walsham East) Donations to four charities/ community groups in his division
Carl Smith (C – Breydon) Did not accept increase or backdated payment
Mike Smith-Clare (L – Yarmouth Nelson and Southtown) Donated to Great Yarmouth Unemployed Workers Centre
Thomas Smith (C – Gaywood South) Did not respond
Bev Spratt (C – West Depwade) Did not respond
Sandra Squire (I – Marshland North) Did not respond
Barry Stone (C – Loddon) Did not respond
Margaret Stone (C – Clavering) Did not respond
Martin Storey (C – Feltwell) Did not respond
Marie Strong (LD – Wells) Putting towards activities in her division
Haydn Thirtle (C – West Flegg) Did not respond
Alison Thomas (C – Long Stratton) Did not respond
Victor Thomson (C – Henstead) Did not respond
John Timewell (LD – North Walsham and Erpingham) Intends to donate to charity
Karen Vincent (C – Old Catton) Did not respond
Colleen Walker (L – Magdalen) Donations to Heart to Heart, MESH Shrublands Youth and Adult Centre Charitable Trust, The Bridge food bank and Great Yarmouth and Gorleston Young Carers
John Ward (C – Sprowston) Did not respond
Brian Watkins (LD – Eaton) Intends to set up ‘community chest’ to use on projects in Eaton
Tony White (C – Downham Market) Did not respond
Martin Wilby (C – East Depwade) Did not respond
Sheila Young (C – Gaywood North and Central) Did not respond