Caroline ffiske writes
The H&F Council budget for councillor allowances in 2018/19 is £785,600. Proposals contained in papers for the Council Meeting this week will result in an additional annual cost of £62,137.80. If the proposals are passed, and all the allowances taken up, the new annual expenditure on Councillor allowances starting next year will be a whopping £847,000. All data is contained here starting on page 100.
The cost increases arise from the Administration expanding its Cabinet to ten people , and creating additional paid roles for administration councillors including roles for “Assistants to the Cabinet”.
The basic rate allowance for all LBHF Councillors is £8,940. All 46 Councillors receive this amount. That is just under £180 a week. There should be a large dose of public service in being a local councillor. But to make some sense of the annual payment, if we assume that councillors are being paid somewhere between £10 and £20 an hour, residents could expect their local councillors to be doing 10 to 20 hours of community and ward-based work per week. As part of the role, councillors are also expected to focus on borough wide issues – policy, or sector, or event, or issue focused. So the creation of additional allowances for assumingly additional work should be treated with great care.
Nevertheless here are the additional annual amounts payable to Councillors above and beyond the basic pay of £8940 received by all Councillors, as proposed in this week’s Council papers:
|Other Cabinet members (8)||£21,454.20|
|Chief Whip (where not a member of Cabinet)||£21,454.20|
|Deputy Chief Whip (2)||£5,564.70|
|Chair of Policy & Accountability Committees (6)||£5,564.70|
|Leader of the Opposition||£16,086.60|
|Deputy Leader of the Opposition||£5,564.70|
|Chair of Planning and Development Control Committees, Audit, Pensions and Standards Committee, Licensing Committee, and Councillor Member on Adoption and Fostering Panel (3)||£5,564.70|
|Assistant to the Cabinet (5)||£2,700.00|
If all these allowances are allocated, a whopping 29 out of the 35 administration councillors will receive additional cash under the new proposals. Interestingly this is in direct contravention of the views of the Independent Panel that looks at Councillor Allowances. This stated “We reiterate our view that no more than 50% of councillors should receive a special responsibility allowance”.
Rampant in victory.
Where does one start?
For example, why do the Mayor and Deputy Mayor need anything additional at all? These are ceremonial roles without political or administrative responsibility.
Richard, in fairness the Mayor and Deputy are some of the hardest working councillors. They attend many civic and charity and school events.
Fair enough. Your main points are still strong – overall a large and difficult to justify increase in the allowances budget, the breaching of the 50% guideline and especially the creation of the five ‘assistant’ roles.
I’m afraid this is the Labour Party I have known for my entire adult life. No conception that this is other peoples’ money, hard-earned and given up in trust to politicians to use wisely and carefully.