Councillors’ allowance ‘uplift’ could benefit NI Hospice

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The Northern Ireland Hospice could benefit from an increase in local councillors’ allowances.

At the January meeting of Newtownabbey Borough Council’s Policy and Governance Committee, members were informed that a 2.2 per cent ‘uplift’ has been applied by the DoE to basic and special responsibility payments for the period January 1 - March 31, 2015.

It’s understood the rise amounts to around £36 per councillor over the three months.

Cllr John Scott said it would be “wrong” for elected representatives to accept the increase, given that public sector workers haven’t had a pay rise. However, Cllr Phillip Brett pointed out that it may be difficult for members to turn down the additional money as it is applied directly by the department.

He suggested that those who didn’t want the extra cash should “give it away.”

Cllr Billy Webb agreed, saying that members who didn’t want to accept the additional allowance money could donate it to the Hospice.

“I for one will do that and I’m sure others in the chamber will do the same,” Cllr Scott commented.