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Allowances too high

January 12, 2001 12:00 AM

The Liberal Democrat Proposal to save over £80,000 of the Borough Council's allowance budget was lost on Wednesday. The rest of the Executive committee closed ranks behind the Labour Group proposal voting for the higher figures. Liberal Democrat Leader Michael Headley explained why his group was proposing a much lower settlement than everyone else. Cllr Headley said, "People become councillors because of the good they want to do for local people not because they are attracted by money. We can't have a system that encourages people to be in it for the money." With a total budget £80,040 below next years allocated budget, the Liberal Democrat proposal was designed to return this £80,000 back to providing services. The Labour group weighed in with a £4,500 basic allowance and a total budget of £301,100, which they admitted had been lowered after discussions with the Liberal Democrat group. Unfortunately the Liberal Democrat proposal was defeated. "We voted against the Labour Proposal because it was too high." Said Michael Headley. "We want to put the £80,000 back into providing important services for local people." Under Government Legislation the old system of allowances used by the council will have to be changed by next year at the latest. However, this did not stop the Tories from sticking their heads in the sand and hoping it would all go away. Liberal Democrat Executive committee member Councillor John Graham explained that even though the process made him "uncomfortable" he recognised that "never the less we've got to do it."