Norfolk councillors’ pay decision branded ‘disgusting’ by UNISON

Union says move to increase councillors’ allowances by 11%, when budget faces £125m budget cuts, shows they are ‘far removed from what’s happening to local communities’

UNISON has labelled Norfolk county councillors’ decision yesterday to give themselves an 11% pay rise at a time of cuts to services and a cap on council staff pay as “disgusting”.

An independent panel reviewed councillors’ allowances and recommended that they stay the same, with a review next year. But the council voted on Monday to press ahead with a decision that will see their allowances rise from £9,401 to £10,500, backdated to May 2017.

UNISON Eastern regional secretary Chris Jenkinson said the move “highlights how far removed councillors are from what’s happening to local communities across Norfolk.

“As the government has cut council budgets relentlessly year on year, county council staff – those who haven’t lost their jobs as a result of funding squeezes – have been doing all they can to help services keep going against the austerity odds.”

He added that hardworking county council workers such as library assistants, home care workers and school catering staff – “many of whom don’t earn very much” – will feel let down by councillors “who are thinking more of themselves, than local residents and the council’s workforce.

“It’s astonishing that councillors see fit to line their own pockets at a time when £125m worth of cuts need to be made to services across the county.”

The council is dealing with budget cuts of £125m over the next years, including £31m removed from adult social services.