Heated debate as council agrees to raise allowances

‘BEING a councillor doesn’t mean you should make a financial sacrifice’ – that was just one of the comments made as Adur councillors agreed to raise their allowances.

WH 160514 Cllr James Butcher, Lancing Parish Council chairman. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-140516-121810001

On Thursday, councillors debated the hot topic of members’ allowances for the 2015/2016 financial year.

A joint independent remuneration panel was assembled to review two options for council allowances before the meeting.

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Option one proposed a five per cent increase, and option two a one per cent increase backdated to the start of the 2014/2015 financial year. The panel recommended the council pass option one.

Councillor Carson Albury said the public should be aware of the amount of work that councillors put in.

He said: “If you did this for the money you can forget about it, but at least you want to make sure you can cover your expenses.”

Councillor Pat Beresford agreed, he said councillors have families and households to run, and therefore cannot afford to subsidise the council.

He said: “I think being a councillor doesn’t mean you should make a financial sacrifice.

“Anyone who thinks that commodities and house prices have not gone up in the last three and a half years really should be in cloud-cuckoo-land.

“I don’t think that five per cent is at all exorbitant.”

Councillor Keith Dollemore said that even with a five per cent increase, councillors would still be paid £3,000 less than Worthing Borough Council members.

However, in opposition, councillor Paul Graysmark said that members should not be opting for the larger increase.

He said: “We’re here to serve the public, not to cater to Blairite things. If you believe in public service you go for the smaller option.”

In a shock statement, Conservative councillor James Butcher accused UKIP county councillor Mike Glennon of costing the tax payer £23,741 in the last financial year.

“I think it is completely disrespectful to say that the proposal to increase is aimed at Blairite things,” he said.

“County councillor Mike Glennon cost the tax payer £23,741, which would pay for six district councillors.”

Councillor Geoff Patmore said: “That is absolutely unnecessary.”

Mr Graysmark added that Mr Glennon had nothing to do with the district council.

The council voted to pass the option one recommendation.