Town councillors decline allowances

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Stratford Town Councillors have turned down the chance to pick up a members’ allowance, despite an independent panel advising that they should.

During a recent town council meeting, councillors discussed a report by the Parish Remuneration Panel, which advised that councillors should be able to claim an annual allowance of £582.

The money was recommended to cover out of pocket expenses and was set at around £10 per week or around 10 per cent of the recommended basic allowance at Stratford District Council.

The panel looked into the issue after a former mayor, expressed his opinion that a lack of a members’ allowance could make it harder to attract a cross section of candidates to stand for the town council.

However during last week’s meeting, members of the newly-elected Town Council made clear that as candidates in the recent election they had been fully aware that if elected their role was purely voluntary and would not attract an allowance.

Members unanimously voted not to receive an allowance.

Long-serving town councillor Bill Dowling said: “I think it’s absolutely the right decision not to introduce a member’s allowances scheme. I didn’t become a town councillor to claim an allowance and from the discussions at the meeting it was clear that the other members didn’t either, I don’t believe we could justify spending people’s money on allowances.

“I don’t think the availability of an allowances scheme would make any difference in attracting councillors.”

The council decided that the option of introducing a members allowance would be reviewed on an annual basis.