Councillors allowances slashed

COUNCIL tax payers in Devon will save more than �320,000 after the county s new Conservative leaders slashed councillors allowances.

COUNCIL tax payers in Devon will save more than �320,000 after the county's new Conservative leaders slashed councillors' allowances.

More than �80,000 will be saved every year following the axing of some special responsibility payments for councillors and the freezing of all councillors' basic allowances - amounting to �320,000 in savings over the next four years.

And more savings are being promised from a streamlining of the way the council undertakes its business, without putting at risk services.

Previously councillors have been paid special allowances for supporting Cabinet members with their departmental responsibilities and other duties.

Now Devon County Council's ruling Conservatives have now decided to abolish those roles and the allowances they paid.

In addition, all councillors' basic allowances will be frozen and council leader John Hart and his deputy, John Clatworthy, will revert to the rate that the leader and deputy leader were being paid in 2005.

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Mr Hart has also launched a thorough review of the number of different committees operating across the county council and the number of national and international organisations to which it belongs.

He said: "We promised the people of Devon we would ensure they got value for money.

"The best place to start to show them we mean business is with the cost of actually administering the council and the allowances paid to councillors themselves.

"We are going to have a fundamental review of how our council works and I intend to reduce the number of committees to cut costs and streamline business.

"There are nine members of the Cabinet who will have political responsibility for all the services Devon County Council provides.

"I do not believe that we need another raft of councillors to support them who can then claim more expenses on top of their basic allowances.

"I want us to lead by example and demonstrate to people across Devon that we are here to serve them."

"I am now responsible for local people's hard-earned council tax and I want to get the most from every single penny. That means getting tough on waste and cutting administrative costs wherever we can."