Row over Norwich council allowances
Sarah HallThe new team which will oversee the creation of new 'super council' for Norwich has met for the first time - but the amount of allowances they can claim has already sparked controversy.Sarah Hall
The new team which will oversee the creation of new 'super council' for Norwich has met for the first time - but the amount of allowances they can claim has already sparked controversy.
The political make-up of the implementation executive - which will steer through the transformation to a unitary council with extra responsibilities for services in Norwich - was rubberstamped at a meeting of Norwich City Council this week.
However, all but one of the Liberal Democrat group opposed an independent panel's recommendation that will mean the 18 members can collectively claim up to �187,000 during the executive's lifetime ahead of the unitary council being formed next April.
The implementation executive will consist of 18 councillors and an independent panel into the special responsibility allowances recommended that the leader should be entitled to �15,000, the deputy leader �12,000 and each member �10,000.
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That will be on top of the allowances which city councillors can already claim for their usual City Hall work, for which �347,900 is budgeted.
Lib Dem leader Brian Watkins said it sent out the wrong message, when the memory of the MP expenses scandal was fresh in the memory.
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He suggested a third should be knocked off the allowances, but he was accused of political point scoring by Conservative leader Antony Little.
City council leader Steve Morphew, who will chair the executive, said the allowances were justified because of the workload and the money, which would come from the city and county council, had been budgeted for.
Members have already met informally, with the first public meeting due on April 14.
Twelve of the councillors are from the city council and six from Norfolk County Council, with the implementation executive chaired by Mr Morphew.
City council members agreed, in addition to Mr Morphew, there would be five Labour city councillors (Brian Morrey , Brenda Arthur, Bert Bremner, Sue Sands and Alan Waters), four Greens (Claire Stephenson, Samir Jeraj, Stephen Little and Peter Offord), one Liberal Democrat (Judith Lubbock) and one Conservative (Antony Little).
The six county councillors, who all represent city divisions at County Hall, would be three Greens (Richard Bearman, Philip Hardy and Marcus Hemsley) and one each for Labour (George Nobbs), the Lib Dems (Mervyn Scutter) and Conservatives (Paul Wells).