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Council refutes MP’s claims that “the head of the council wants to be paid the same salary as me”

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THE local politician supposed to lead a single new council for all of Somerset has been accused of wanting to be paid the same amount as an MP.

Cllr David Fothergill, currently head of Somerset County Council, “demands” a salary of £ 80,000, according to Bridgwater and West Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger.

Mr Liddell-Grainger made the request during an intervention in the House of Commons shortly after the minister unhesitatingly approved plans to abolish the four district councils and the county and replace them with a huge council. covering the Somerset Hole by April 2023.

Robert Jenrick was sacked as Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government during Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s reshuffle this week.

Mr Liddell-Grainger told the House of Commons: “Britain’s greatest king, King Alfred, is still spinning in his grave because of the appalling abuses of democracy committed during the Unitarian Announcement.

Ian Liddell-Grainger MP.

“It was a bombshell in Somerset.

“But now senior official Paul Rowsell has agreed that Somerset will only get around 80 councilors, and part of that is because the county council head wants to be paid at least the same amount as a Member of Parliament and he wants all new councilors to receive between £ 55,000 and £ 60,000 a year. ”

Mr Liddell-Grainger called for a full debate on the matter in Westminster.

Responding to his claims, House Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg said: “I am a great supporter of economics in the public service, ensuring that expenses paid to councilors are reasonable and proportionate.

“Essentially, it’s a volunteer job where people shouldn’t be paying out of pocket rather than a professional career where people might expect the kind of pay they could get if they were employed. by the state.”

A Somerset County Council spokesperson said: “Ian Liddell-Grainger’s claims are totally false. The MP knows this is wrong and all anyone interested has to do is read the One Somerset business case which promotes fewer advisers, lower costs and savings for the public.

“The idea of ​​advisers getting salaries is laughable, as Jacob Rees-Mogg confirms. And the suggestions about the level of these payments are just as absurd, as Mr. Liddell-Grainger is well aware.

“County councilors currently receive stipends of around £ 11,000 per year. District councilors around £ 3,000 per year. No one in their right mind would believe that would go up to £ 50,000 or £ 60,000. ”


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