Mid Devon councillors approve 23% allowance rise

Councillors in Mid Devon have awarded themselves a 23% allowances increase.

The Conservative-led authority said the rise, from £3,654 a year to £4,500 for its 42 members, was based on an independent panel's recommendations.

It said the rise meant its allowances were more in line with other districts.

It added that it hoped the move would encourage more people to stand for election, as the panel said low allowances meant people from diverse backgrounds were less likely to stand.

Austerity measures

The Taxpayers' Alliance said the rise was the second highest by a local authority in the UK.

The alliance - formed in 2004 by a group of free market Conservatives to campaign for a low tax economy - said only Boston borough councillors in Lincolnshire got a bigger rise than Mid Devon, with an increase of 28%.

It added the Devon district's residents should be the only people to approve such allowance increases.

Chris Daniel, from the alliance, said: "It's a worrying trend if councils are having to dole out more taxpayers' money to catch up with other local authorities.

"It should be down to local taxpayers to decide if they think their council is worth this money, especially in times of austerity."

Mid Devon Council has frozen its council tax bills as part of austerity measures.

In March, it said under the funding formula grant from central government, its budget was being reduced by £665,000, or 13.6%, for the 2012/13 financial year, although it said it was able to protect front-line services.

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