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Independent review of East Herts councillors' allowances

The issue: Independent panellists have been called to review the allowances given to councillors in East Herts.

This follows controversy over a refusal by councillors to pass an amendment that would cut their allowances.

The independent remuneration panel will look at whether the current allowances need to be reduced, following an agreement by councillors to freeze their allowances over the next three years.

The facts: The basic allowance for all East Herts Councillors is £5,404, with more for those with special responsibilities.

As Council leader, Cllr Tony Jackson receives a special responsibility allowance of £27,022 each year.

The case for: A cut in councillors' allowances could help to further ease the burden of council tax bills on people in East Herts.

Independent councillors had proposed an amendment that would slash members' remuneration over the next two years and freeze it for a further two, but this was defeated in the council chamber. The move was set to save an estimated £500,000 by 2012-13.

Speaking at the meeting on February 25, Cllr Nigel Clark (Independent, Sawbridgeworth) said "This is about value for money for the council tax payer. Do the residents of East Herts get value for money for their £500,000 a year? It's time to get our house in order."

The case against: Councillors have already agreed a freeze on allowances, and the issue should be decided by an independent body of local citizens - i.e. the independent remuneration panel.

Lib Dem councillors abstained from voting on the proposed amendment. Cllr Mike Wood (Lib Dem, Bishop's Stortford All Saints) said: "We abstained for the reason that we felt the timing of the vote was totally inappropriate as it pays no regard to the independent remuneration panel, the body that will meet in the near future to make its recommendations on allowances to councillors. This is truly independent as there are no councillors on it."

Have your say: What do you think of the decision to review members' allowances at East Herts District Council? Do you think we need them cut to lower council tax or are they justified? Let us know: info@ehpeople.org

As reported in The Mercury, March 6, 2009.

16/04/2009 - 11:52 by Anonymous

I believe that council tax must be reduced as far as is possible. Both expenses and numbers must be trimmed. The effects of the present economic situation must be shared and simply not left to the tax payer with above inflation increases in council tax..

24/04/2009 - 20:23 by Retired Manager

In commerce, the rule is generally that people should not be out of pocket by working for their employer.   The result is that intelligent rules are set for incurring expenses like travel, accommodation, entertaining, etc, etc, and then the employee is reimbused his/her expenses against vouchers and receipts.

Round sum allowances do play a part in this exercise but in some quarters - usually where the beneficiaries set the rules - they become an essential part of "the gravy train" as ridden so enthusiastically in both the European and UK Parliaments and to a more modest extent by our District Councillors.

 

 

31/07/2009 - 15:10 by NigelC

After Council decided to appoint only one new member to the independent panel the seven remaining candidates have formed the Shadow IRP.

See today's Mercury for details or visit the Facebook site "Shadow IRP for East Herts"

http://www.hertsandessexobserver.co.uk/hertsandessexobserver/DisplayArticle.asp?ID=437652

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