During an extended period of financial austerity, when everyone is having to cut back, and local volunteer groups are struggling to make ends meet, the ruling coalition on Malvern Hills District Council are considering not only increasing the level of allowances for a handful of senior councillors, but creating new portfolio roles that will be eligible for such enhanced allowances.

At the same time, without consultation or discussion, and flying in the face of localism, they have abolished councillor ward budgets.

While these budgets were relatively small (£1,000 per councillor per year), they allowed councillors to provide invaluable assistance to local groups, for whom even a small grant could enable them to continue their valuable work for another year.

County Council, however, has seen fit to retain its (rather more generous) locality budget scheme and, following the election of my colleague John Raine as county councillor for Trinity, he will be able to continue to provide quick and direct support to local community groups – surely a more worthwhile use of public spending in these difficult times.

The idea of cutting the local grant support while expanding councillor remuneration seems completely upside-down thinking.

Green councillors will vigorously oppose the proposals on allowances when a final decision is taken.

However, should the coalition on Malvern council decide, as seems likely, to increase them, I shall use the additional allowance to replace my abolished ward budget, so I can continue to fund local groups in my ward.

I hope others will also do the same.

Julian Roskams

Green Party