Minutes after power is formally handed over to Labour at the Council Annual Meeting on 16 June, councillors voted on changes to the existing members allowance scheme. The report, proposed by new Council Leader Stephen Cowan, included details of Special Responsibility Allowances (“SRAs”) to be paid to 25 of the 46 leading members of the Council. Although the report claims to show a 10% cut in SRAs in 2014/15, and a freeze on overall spending, figures released by the Conservatives show spending on the Labour Cabinet and Chief Whip are set to increase by a whopping £43,290 (15.6%) in 2014/15.
The figures show the total cost of Labour’s Cabinet and Chief Whip allowances will be £320,037 up from £276,746 under the last year of the previous Conservative administration. When in control, the Conservatives froze councillors’ allowances in the borough for a record eight years.
The steep rise is caused by an increase in Cabinet size to nine Labour councillors, on top of existing allowances paid to the Labour Chief Whip. Three new senior councillor posts – including a “Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion” – mean the Council now has the biggest Cabinet in its history.
At the same time, the increase in the size of the Cabinet means overall spending on councillors allowances (including backbenchers and opposition allowances) is set to rise by over £10,000 (1.4%) – taking the total spend on allowance costs to £735,305.
Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Hammersmith, Cllr Charlie Dewhirst, says:
“Local taxpayers will feel betrayed and furious that Labour’s first act in control of Hammersmith & Fulham is to give themselves a pay rise.
“At a time of public sector pay freezes, when many local people are struggling to make ends meet, this shows Labour is completely out of touch with reality.
“It’s jobs for the boys and girls. A ludicrous 85% of Labour councillors now top up their basic councillor allowances with extra publicly-funded pay. For some reason, they managed to miss out that particular policy proposal from their manifesto at the elections on 22 May.
“The lesson for local residents is that we simply cannot trust Labour with our money.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
For further enquiries please contact Charlie Dewhirst by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 07775 707703.
- For full details, see the attached schedule of the changes to the new Cabinet’s allowances.
- Councillors’ allowances were controversially first introduced in 1998 in Labour-led Hammersmith & Fulham Council, which created the nine highest-paid councillors in Britain.
- Hammersmith and Fulham is the second smallest London Borough, with a population of 179,850. The new Council Cabinet is the same size as Birmingham City Council, which has a population of 3,701,107.
Councillor Charlie Dewhirst
Conservative Party Parliamentary Candidate for Hammersmith and Shepherd’s Bush
Hammersmith Conservative Association
4 Greyhound Road, London, W6 8NX
t. 020 7385 1002 e. email@example.com