A councillor is furious about his colleagues’ “miserable and mean-spirited” response when he asked them to consider making a charity donation.

Colin Olivier asked for a £300 allowance he is entitled to claim as a Brightlingsea town councillor to be sent instead to the Disasters Emergency Committee’s appeal for drought and famine in the Horn of Africa.

To ensure his donation was not taxed, Mr Olivier asked the council to make the cheque out directly to charity.

Fellow councillors refused to allow this, even though it was not against any rules.

Mr Olivier, of Upper Park Road, Brightlingsea, who became a councillor in the May elections, said: “I made the pledge in my election leaflet I would donate my allowance to charity and no challenge was made then.

“No rules are being broken, why on earth should they object?

“What’s happening in the Horn of Africa is dreadful.

“The other councillors suggested I could draw the money and then pay it on to the charity, but that way the charity would lose 40 per cent in tax. I was actually being hard-headed by making the suggestion.

“I think they are a miserable, mean-spirited bunch of people, telling me what I should do with my allowance.”

After the vote Mr Oliver said he had decided not to claim his allowance in protest at the decision.

Graham Steady, one of those who voted against sending the cheque directly, said: “Sending taxpayers’ money to an overseas appeal could be misconstrued.

“The feeling was if he wanted to make a donation, he should have done so as an individual.

“I did ask whether he would be prepared to give the money to a local cause, but he declined.

“If he thinks his cause is so good, why doesn’t he bite the bullet and take the money?

“Not taking any at all is cutting off his nose to spite his face.”

However, mayor Janet Russell said she sympathised with Mr Olivier.

She added: “Unfortunately, councillors felt if he wanted to donate the money to charity, he should accept his allowance and give what was left after tax, which was very much less.

“I felt it was wrong, and I voted with Colin, but we had to accept the majority decision.

“What he wanted was perfectly legal and, in my opinion, the other councillors should just have agreed for us to send the cheque.”