At the full council meeting of Southend Borough Council on Thursday 23rd July, the Labour group of councillors voted against increases in the special allowances for executive councillors, and to make savings from allowances given to committee chairs and by scrapping the free paper and printer ink given to councillors.
The three Labour cabinet members, Cllrs Ian Gilbert, David Norman and Anne Jones all refused the recommended 5% increase in their allowances. Cllr Gilbert seconded the motion to refuse this rise, and Labour cabinet members joined other councillors in voting against it. In addition, Labour councillors voted to get rid of the free office supplies provided to councillors, and to follow the recommendation from an independent panel to cut the allowances given to the chairs of the Appeals and Standards committees.
Cllr Gilbert, the leader of the Labour Group, said, 'Southend Labour were united in their view on this matter. I am disappointed with councillors from other parties who can nod through cuts to vital services, cut council tax exemptions for the poor and disabled, without a flicker of emotion, but queue up to protest if it's suggested they should pay for their own paper and ink out of their generous allowance.'
He added, 'I think there are certain councillors in Southend who need to remember that they serve the town's residents, not the other way around. Labour councillors will continue to fight against the cuts inflicted on Southend by the Conservative government, and we will not hold ourselves apart from everyone else who lives in the borough.'