Allowance increases are badly timed and very bad judgement
PUBLISHED: 18:29 11 December 2017 | UPDATED: 13:00 12 December 2017
Our front page headline sums it up - what a flaming cheek. For the past few months we have heard from our county council leaders that savings and cuts are needed. They have said, accurately, that the money the government gives them is not enough - and that something has got to give.
That something could be bus services, children’s centres, or maintenance and gritting of the county’s roads.
As unpalatable as those savings are, at least there was a measure of justification that things have to change in the face of less money.
Yet yesterday we saw Conservative councillors (barring the few who voted against, abstained or were absent) go against a recommendation from an independent panel that their basic allowance should not go up.
They voted for an 11pc increase, with leader Cliff Jordan getting an even bigger hike on his special responsibility allowance.
Mr Jordan, with justification, says Norfolk councillors get less than their counterparts in Suffolk and Lincolnshire.
He says there’s never a good time to increase them. But there’s definitely a bad time to increase them and that’s right now.
People in Norfolk face a council tax increase, and are worrying about bus services and children’s centres.
The suspicion is that, if the public was consulted on this allowance increase, people would put those services ahead of extra money for councillors.