Horncastle county councillor hands 23% increase to community

Coun Bill Aron
Coun Bill Aron

Horncastle’s County Councillor Bill Aron will not pocket an increase in allowances and will donate extra money to community projects instead.

County councillors sparked outrage last Friday when they voted for a 23 per cent increase in their allowances, despite shutting libraries and slashing the budgets of many frontline services

The increase - backed by a majority of 50-20 - means allowances will go up from £8,184 a year to £10,100.

But Coun Aron, an Independent who is also vice chairman of the council, revealed he will devote all his increase to community projects.

Coun Aron, who was not at the meeting because of a funeral, told the News: “Allowances are set by an independent panel who meet every four years.

“The last time, we voted not to take the increase and to give the proposed £2,000 increase to the community in the form of councillor’s grants.

“Each year, I have given out on average £150 to 14 organisations spread across my division.

“As colleagues agreed in my absence to take the proposed increase as recommended, I have thought about it and decided I will donate all of this year’s increase to the community fund so I can give out even more small grants locally.”

Alan Carter, of Lincoln Road, welcomed Coun Aron’s decision. He said: “I think it is a scandal they (councillors) opted for an increase.

“How can they justify it when they are cutting everything?

“My wife works for the council and she’s one of hundreds potentially facing redundancy.

“At least he, (Coun Aron) has had the decency not to take the money.

“I’d like to know the 50 councillors who voted for the increase because then we could kick them all out at the next elections.”

Emma Reid, of West Street, said: “Top marks to Coun Aron for handing the money to the community.

“I hope the councillors who take the increase can walk by their local library with their head held high.”

Coun Denis Hoyes (Cons), who represents Woodhall Spa and Wragby, did not attend the meeting because of poor health, but said he had not made his mind up the increase.

He explained: “I’ve been a councillor for 36 years and when I started, we didn’t get a paid. I did the job for the love of it.”

Coun Colin Mair (UKIP), who represents Tattershall Castle, voted against the increase.

Council leader Martin Hill rejected a recommended 56 per cent rise in his allowance from £20,488 to £32,000.

The authority froze its share of council tax bills but reduced spending on libraries by more than £1m, children’s services (-£700,000), roads (-£700,000) and the fire service (-£214,000).