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Allowances justified say our councillors

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News

Councillors have defended the money they receive for their work.

Local resident Wendy Diamant believes that the £10,995 basic allowance which most Central Beds councillors receive is unnecessary. Some also receive special responsibility allowances and they can make expense claims.

But councillors say the money is justified.

Wendy said: “I am appalled when I read the accounts.

“Once upon a time this was an unpaid job and whilst I do not expect these people to give up their time for no reward, when our services have been cut drastically I think some cuts could be made to these people’s expenses.”

Councillor Nigel Aldis of Sandy attends a high number of meetings each month.

He said: “Dealing with case work, answering and sending emails, attending briefings, seminars, training events, attendance at school governors’ meetings, the Aragon Board, CAB trustees body and the CVS in Bedford keep me very busy.

“On average I probably spend two to three full days a week on Central Beds duties. So I think I am “good value” for the allowance paid to me. I claim very little travelling expenses as I use the bus, cycle or get lifts from fellow councillors.”

Councillor David Lawrence of Biggleswade said he and his wife, Councillor Jane Lawrence, claim only the basic allowance and IT expenses and give a lot of time to the role.

Councillor Lewis Birt of Shefford added: “People call up at any time of the day or night and if you are doing the job properly you have to carry out research to answer queries.” He only claims travel expenses for lengthy journeys outside the area.

Councillor Maurice Jones, executive member for corporate resources said: “Councillors’ allowances are based on recommendations from an Independent Remuneration Panel which compares rates paid with a comparative group of unitary councils.

“Given the demands of the role it is fair that members receive their allowance and are reimbursed for any travel expenses they incur in fulfilling their role.”

 

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