Radical plan to support the community made

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Plans being made would mean the personal allowance being spent on community projects 

A plan has been drawn up to tackle local issues and improve our community by Stephen Morgan, standing in Charles Dickens ward in the council elections on Thursday 5 May.

Under proposals, Stephen would create a ward panel to help improve local life.

The panel would bring together existing community groups, residents and local businesses backed up with funding from the current councillor allowance scheme with a grants ‘pot’ for the ward.  The funding would be used to improve the area by inviting ideas and practical proposals from the panel.

Currently all councillors get paid at least £10,200 per year in personal allowances.

Lib Dems have previously proposed increasing ‘cabinet member allowances’ by 25%. Labour stopped this proposal going ahead and at February’s council budget-setting meeting made plans to reduce the cost of democracy and cut the councillor allowances by 20%. Sadly this was voted down by the other parties – at a time when essential provision such as social care, is being cut. This year the council is cutting services by £11m, with more reductions in services planned.

Under these existing allowance arrangements, the current Lib Dem councillor for Charles Dickens has claimed over £107,000.00.

In launching the plan, Stephen said:

“I’m not standing for the council to claim a personal allowance, I’m doing it to stand up for residents in the city and make a difference to the community I’ve been fortunate enough to have been brought up in. Local people do so much for their communities but this is rarely recognised. I want to tap into this hard work, and improve local life for all.  If elected and the City Solicitor allows it, I will start to use some of the councillor allowance to support and fund projects to ensure they make a bigger impact on local people’s lives”.

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Stephen with his dad who have both done community work in the ward for decades

Charles Dickens is one of the most deprived areas in the south east of England with child poverty as high as 67% in some parts of the ward, life expectancy ten years lower than elsewhere in the city and other challenges facing families across its communities.

Stephen added:

“These grants will be decided upon with the support of a ward panel. I would create this in my first few weeks on the job. By bringing everyone together it is hoped my allowance will be matched with other grants and donations from others. Together we can make life better in Charles Dickens ward”.

For more information about Stephen’s campaign and local community issues visit http://www.stephenjmorgan.org