Norfolk

Norfolk county councillors award themselves 11% pay rise

Council meeting
Image caption The Labour group put forward a motion backed by the Liberal Democrats to get the decision reversed

County councillors have stood by their decision to award themselves an 11% pay rise, despite claims it is "obscene" at a time when the authority is planning £125m of cuts to services.

Norfolk county councillors will see their allowances rise from £9,401 to £10,500, backdated to May 2017.

The Labour group put forward a motion backed by the Liberal Democrats to get last month's decision reversed.

But on Monday 36 councillors voted for the rise with 28 opposing the move.

Image copyright Norfolk County Council
Image caption Leader Cliff Jordan said councillors' allowances had not kept pace with those at other authorities

Cliff Jordan, the Conservative leader of the council, has said allowances had "been out of sync" with other authorities for years.

"We need to remunerate people properly. I see nothing wrong with this increase," Mr Jordan told the meeting.

But Labour group leader Steve Morphew said: "Norfolk is telling us this decision is wrong."

He said people could not see the justice in increasing allowances in times of austerity.

Liberal Democrat group leader Dan Roper said: "If a decision looks wrong and sounds wrong, it probably is wrong."

Labour councillor Emma Corlett has previously called the increase "absolutely obscene".

Next month the council will also vote on increasing its part of the council tax bill by 6%.

Mr Jordan, who will get a 13% increase as leader of a group, said the rate of increase of allowances had fallen over recent years.

"This is part of negligence of other administrations. You leave it for two more years, the increase would be even bigger," he said.

In deciding the rate to pay councillors, a review panel used average gross hourly rates for full-time employees from the Office for National Statistics.

Norfolk County Council is looking to make budget cuts of £125m over the next four years, with a £31m cut to adult social services.

Its overall budget for 2017-2018 is £1.383bn.

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