In response to my earlier blog on the LGA survey of allowances, a supporter has sent information about Newham council’s shocking state of council allowances. In perusing the documents, I thought I’d report the scandal going on in one of the most deprived boroughs in the country.
Look at it like this:
Mayor Robin Wales, the directly elected mayor, claims no councillor allowance (as he isn’t one) but gets a special responsibility allowance of £78,063 (up from £76k last year). As a directly elected mayor, he holds executive power in the council and appoints a cabinet from the majority party in the council.
In addition to the mayor, a deputy mayor from the council ranks is appointed. On top of her basic allowance of £10,829 she receives £43,803, making a total allowance of £54,632.
The mayor then appoints councillors to portfolios to form the council executive. Of these positions there are a total of nine different bands. For example:
Five councillors receive an SRA of £30,735 for their work as portfolio holders. Add on the basic allowance these five are entitled to and each councillor receives £41,564, making a combined total of £207,820 for just five councillors.
Two councillors receive an SRA of £22,540 for holding cabinet portfolios. Again, adding on the basic allowance and these two councillors receive £33,369, giving us a combined total of £66,738 for only two portfolio holders.
A further two portfolio holders receive £18,440. Adding on the basic allowance, they get £29,269. Combined, they cost the taxpayer £58,538.
Then, a total of eight councillors receive £14,345, making their total remuneration £25,147 and a cumulative cost of £201,392.
Without going into the detail of the portfolio holders on the executive, there are still eight more remunerated positions on the Newham council executive. In addition, of those positions outside the executive, 14 are remunerated on top of the £10,829 paid to all councillors on the council. That makes a total of 32 councillors, out of a total of 60 on the council, in receipt of a special responsibility allowance. It can't be that special a responsibility if more than half of the council have one.
Taking just the portfolio holders I’ve mentioned, Newham’s taxpayer pays their politicians £667,183 a year in allowances. With nine different bands for special responsibility allowance (page 6), is it any wonder that allowances have soared? Is it any wonder that nothing ever changes in Newham?
If you’ve read this and are aghast at how councils can get away with this – don’t be. You have the power to stop them. Apply to join your local council’s Independent Remuneration Panel.