Norfolk County Council have come under fire after they voted to increase their allowances.
They voted to raise the basic rate from £9,401 to £10,500.
A total of 39 members of the County Council voted for the increase in the allowance, predominantly Conservative and Independent councillors. 26, predominantly Liberal Democrat and Labour councillors, voted against the motion.
The raised allowance goes against the recommendation of an independent panel who reviewed councillors’ pay. The panel concluded the rate should stay the same and another review carried out in a later year.
The decision to increase the allowance was based off the hourly rates for full time employees from the Office for National Statistics, which average £14.42 in Norfolk and £17.20 in England as a whole.
Labour councillor Steve Morphew told the EDP that the decision was a “kick in the teeth,” adding that Labour councillors will not be accepting the money, and will be giving it to local charity instead.
David Rowntree, county councillor for the University division, told Concrete: “The pay rise is an absolute disgrace and shows just how out of touch the Tories are
“The people who elected us have seen the value of their pay falling for a decade.”
Cliff Jordan, the Conservative leader of the Council, defended the move in an interview with the EDP on the grounds that there is an increasing cost to being a councillor, saying “the expenses are getting less and less and less, that has to be put right,” adding that “it’s a lot of mileage we do, to look out for people’s interests.”
A spokesperson from UEA Labour said: “This is disappointing and frustrating considering the substantial cuts that the council has been ‘forced’ to make.
Just this June the council announced they had to save approximately £100m over the next 4 years.”
UEA Conservatives declined to comment.