WHITCHURCH Town Council has voted to increase the clerk's expenditure budget.

Council clerk Nicola Young had a budget of £1,000, which was used to undertake maintenance and purchase essential items without the approval of the full council.

A motion put forward by Councillor Tony Neville at the most recent full council meeting held on Thursday, November 21, proposing raising the budget to £2,000.

"I'm trying to work out why we've got a £1,000 budget," said Cllr Neville. "It seems to me that we don’t trust the town clerk.

"Rather than scrap it all together I propose we increase it to £2,000."

But Cllr Neville's proposal sparked debate among councillors, with some questioning why it needed to be increased and others asking why it needed an arbitrary limit at all.

Cllr Alan Chesters was one of those to question the need to increase the limit.

"That statement is a bit open handed – why not make it £10,000?" said Cllr Chesters.

"There's never been a problem with buying anything and I don’t see any reason to increase it. For day-to-day running this is."

Meanwhile Cllr John Sinnott questioned why the budget was at £1,000 to begin with.

"The guidelines are only £500 for a clerk, so we're already double it," said Cllr Sinnott. "To go to £2,000 you're almost in the realms of capital expenditure.

"It’s meant to be for maintenance items, it would be a pretty big item to cost £2,000."

But Cllr Simon Hamlyn was one of those to support the proposal, claiming it was 'fairly straightforward'.

Despite Cllr Andy Hall adding that he couldn't see any "clear rational" for what he believed to be a "perfectly reasonable budget" the motion was passed by the council.