The proposed budget at North Norfolk District Council has been slammed by the local Labour Party after it was revealed that councillor allowances will increase while residents have to pay more through new “stealth taxes”.
The local Labour Party has previously called for the Conservative administration to consult over the budget – which will involve an increase in car parking charges and beach hut charges, as well as the sale or closure of local facilities. They believe the budget is unfair – after it was revealed councillors’ benefits will increase.
At Full Council on Tuesday night councillors look set to approve the increases in their allowances from £4,054 to £5,000 – a 23% increase – on top of a number of other changes to cabinet member and committee members’ pay. This is all at a time when residents are being asked to pay more. The budget will also increase allowances for dinner, and continue to cover the cost of home broadband too.
The party is calling for an urgent rethink on this year’s budget priorities and for the council to properly consult with the local people to ensure a fairer deal. It is continuing to campaign for a change to council tax discounts for second homes which will still apply under the 2016 budget.
Stephen Burke, the newly-elected chairman of North Norfolk Labour Party, said:
“Local residents struggling to make ends meet will be shocked that district councillors are planning to award themselves a 23% pay rise while making more cuts to local services. On top of that district councillors are planning new stealth taxes on parking that will hit residents and our local economies hard. Councillors should rethink these budget priorities urgently and consult with residents. It is a poor deal, and one that does not promote fairness.
“North Norfolk residents are trapped between a rock and a hard place on parking and transport. Local public transport by bus and train is getting worse, with regular reports of late and crowded services. And residents forced to drive now face hikes in parking charges and more difficulties parking in our town centres. Also losing out will be local businesses as residents reduce their trips into our local towns. The district council should listen to what local people are saying and reduce parking charges, not increase them.”