Hampshire County Councillor, Tim Rolt, campaigned in early 2013 for a seat on Hampshire County Council. As part of his campaign, Cllr Rolt told the voting public that as part of his promise to the electorate, he would be looking to reduce councillors allowances by 50%. However in recently-published, official figures by Hampshire County Council, not only has Cllr Rolt been paid his full allowance of £12,000, he has also been paid by the council, a further £4476 for being UKIP’s culture and communities’ spokesman. To add to this contradiction in campaign promises, the payments were back dated from May 2013.
Andover & Villages spoke to Cllr Rolt and asked him why he had claimed the full allowance in addition to the backdated amount. He told us, “I haven’t claimed any expenses as part of my role with Hampshire County Council, despite the fact that I am allowed, by law, to claim for mileage and reasonable expenses that result as part of being a County Councillor. The allowance I have accepted has been set by the Council and is similar to a salary that is paid to us. Additionally, the payments are subject to PAYE. Councillors do not have the power to refuse the payments from the council.”
Andover & Villages asked Cllr Rolt what steps he had taken to bring about the 50% reduction in Councillors’ allowances in order to keep his promises to the electorate, to which he said, “I have not been able to implement any chance to vote on a reduction, because there are only ten of us who want to reduce the allowance. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats do not want a reduction, and we are in the minority.”
Andover & Villages investigated the claim that councillors were not able to refuse allowance payments and found the following in The Hampshire County Council Constitution, which states;
Appendix E – Members’ Allowance Scheme 2014/15
A Member may give notice to the Chief Executive to elect to forego all or any part of his/her entitlement to any of the allowances payable under this scheme.
Councillor Phil North told Andover & Villages, “I do think if Cllr Rolt and other Hampshire UKIP councillors are going to accept these allowances and have them back-dated to May 2013 then they need to be transparent about it. They have been making pledges in public then doing completely the opposite when elected as Councillors. Trying to pull the wool of voters eyes simply won’t work.”
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