By Local Democracy Reporter Ciaran Duggan
Councillors in Kent will be given less money to spend on helping the communities they represent from April after a major rebellion at County Hall was quashed.
Kent County Council’s (KCC) Conservative administration faced a strong revolt from its own party last week over a decision to reduce grants given to County Hall’s 81 elected members during the next financial year.
Typically, the public money is used to support enterprises such as food banks, homeless charities and for highways schemes, such as pedestrian crossings. The grants will be cut from from £20,000 to £10,000 over a 12-month period.
KCC’s finance cabinet member, Cllr Peter Oakford (Con), was one of 41 Tory county councillors who supported the major reductions during a virtual budget meeting last Thursday (February 11) as more cash is put into reserves.
Opposition groups and senior backbench Tories, including the former leader Sir Paul Carter, called for an urgent rethink during the vote. It came as KCC’s £1.1billion spending plan and 5% tax rises from April were agreed.
Cllr Carter, who stood down as KCC leader in October 2019 after 14 years, said: “Small charities and voluntary organisations are really struggling in fundraising endeavours at the moment. If ever there is a need to help and support them, this is it.”
Around 30 out of 71 councillors, including 16 Conservatives, voted in favour of a motion to set councillor grants at £17,000 for the next financial year. But they were defeated after the remaining elected members opposed the move.
The grant uplift would have meant an extra £581,000, a total of £1.3million, for good causes and projects from April 2021 to April 2022.
At Thursday’s budget meeting, Canterbury representative Cllr Ida Linfield (Lib Dem) was outraged, saying: “It’s a windfall that KCC is putting back into its piggy bank.”
Please note I voted for the motion NOT to cut the grant which has help dozens of organisations in thanet over my 4 years in office. So annoyed with Lesley game who represents cliftonville voted to cut support for thanet residents
Of course you wouldn’t vote for it Barry.
What you voted for previously was a raise in your allowance which you had no problem accepting, then you proceeded by wasting it by donating hard earned tax payers money to charity.
So what you don’t have the authority or the right to do is get angry with others.
Unacceptable you even think that way.
The box , you are a serial liar, i have never voted for a pay rise. I am proud to spend MY Money on helping people in thanet. It’s called CHARITY.
Barry, what do you not understand?
WHAT gives you the RIGHT to donate HARD earned TAX PAYERS money to charity?
IT IS *NOT* YOUR MONEY. IT’S TAX PAYERS MONEY. You should have done what others done, *refused* it.
What do you not understand?
I could fully understand if it was your own money, but it is not. It’s tax payers money, the electorate that put elected you.
I just do not think you have the right to batter other people and councillors in these comments, when you have done exactly the same. Is that a fair point?
You say the general election result was concerning in one of your posts before… well it’s the way you behave and do as county council is the reason Labour are in shambles.
I have not lied. It is fact, you should not call someone a liar when they presented you with facts.
The Box what don’t you understand? Barry would not have been able to stop receiving any pay rise once the Tory’s voted for it, yes its Tax Payers money, but Barry used it to socially benefit others! These cuts are going towards paying back all the Tory businesses that were given Tax Payer money due to the Pandemic!
I don’t see how giving money to charity can be called “wasting it”. And The Box, please don’t call me “Martha” if you reply. It’s so boringly predictable, and what on earth is the point of it?
I voted against this. An appalling cut. Our members grants have often assisted small organisations to ‘get going’ and we’ve supported those who would find it difficult to get funding elsewhere.
What possible benefit is there by cutting it anyway 🤷🏼♂️
I have been able to innovate, put on programmes which are right for Thanet, match fund so I can access grants from other organisations, offer incredible value for money and provide a way for people in Thanet to improve their own lives in the ways they want to…..,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,by using the KCC Combined members’ grants. I know we are short of money but this has a direct beneficial effect on so many peoples’ lives. Summer Kitchen would never have happened without a combined members’ grant.
Indeed sharon, many years ago you asked me to fund your summer kitchen project at drapers mill school to feed schoolchildren during the summer holidays and again last year to fund our shop food shop in margate to help families during lockdown. All because of my members grant plus money i gave from my own allowance from kcc. Thousands of Thanet community have benefited from these schemes and i am proud of our work together