Councillors face money cut

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Councillors’ basic allowances could be cut by £500 per year to £6,300 according to a report set to go before Ashfield District Council.

The study, conducted by the Independent Remuneration Panel says the £500 should now be awarded on a performance basis – just to members who attend 70 per cent of all their formal meetings.

A spokesman for Ashfield Independents Group, the opposition on the Labour-controlled authority, said the party had fought long and hard to see the cost of democracy reduced.

He said: “We believe that in this time of austerity, when services have been cut back, it’s only right the council leads by example.”

Councillor Jason Zadrozny, Ashfield Independents member for Larwood, said: “It is a huge honour and privilege to represent our communities and people should not seek to make a fortune out of public service. I am calling for all councils in Nottinghamshire to have a look at their own cost of democracy.”

Councillor Tom Hollis, Ashfield Independents leader , said: “We are some of the highest-paid councillors in the UK.

“It’s only right that people turn up and speak out for the residents who elect them.

“We support this new measure wholeheartedly.”

The report says the council’s standards and personnel committee will have the power to hear appeals for genuine absences to meetings, such as illness or physical incapacity, family or domestic emergencies, or representing the council in another forum.

It says: “The panel concluded this demonstrates members’ allowances represent value for money, while also ensuring members have the support to do their jobs and are not out of pocket as a consequence.

“While the review has not been driven by the need to find savings, the panel was mindful of ongoing austerity, where the council is planning for further savings on expenditure of 4.4 per cent year-on-year for the next five years.

During the panel review, all councillors were given the opportunity to meet with the organisation.

The report is due to go before the next full council meeting tomorrow, Thursday, July 21.