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Town councillors 'disgusted' at district council allowances increase
10:00pm Friday 11th April 2014 in News
MALVERN Hills district councillors who voted for increased allowances last month are "nodding dogs" whose conduct "stinks", said town councillor Mike Charles this week.
The district council controversially voted in February to increase the allowances paid to some of its leading members by up to 20 per cent.
And on Tuesday, Malvern Town Council agreed to write a letter to the district council "to express the disgust of the people of Malvern at the avarice displayed by MHDC".
Cllr Charles said: "The general public thinks that the whole thing stinks. The district council could have turned the whole thing down, as many other councils did, but they voted to put a few more pennies in their pockets. They are all nodding dogs."
Cllr Pat Mewton said that the town council was better placed to speak for the people of Malvern than MHDC, which covers a much wider area. He said: "How many of those who have benefitted from this actually represent outlying wards away from Malvern?"
Cllr Hannah Campbell, who is also a member of MHDC, defended the decision, saying: "I voted for these increases. I'm one of the working-age individuals on the council and for me to take on any extra responsibilities for the district council, I would have to reduce my working hours in my day job."
Cllr Paul Tuthill, another MHDC member, said he had voted against the increases. He said: "When a similar proposal came before the county council, it was voted down immediately." He also said parish councils in rural areas had been very critical of the allowance increases as well."
Several councillors warned against taking a confrontational stance against MHDC, but Cllr Ian Dawson, who originated the motion, said: "So many people have said to me how outrageous it is that I think it has to be said on behalf of the people of Malvern."
Town councillor voted eight to four with eight abstentions to send the letter.
Cllr David Hughes, leader of MHDC, said: "The issue was voted on by the district council, based on advice from the independent remuneration panel. The town council are entitled to their views."