Lambeth Labour Councillors Reject Green Call to Halt £470,000 a Year Gravy Train

3 June 2018

A month in and the new Council administration falls in to chaos under scrutiny.

Lambeth Labour faces serious questions over mistruths, misrepresentation and mismanagement

 

A call from the Green Party for Lambeth Councillors to cut 56% from additional allowances has been rejected by Lambeth's Labour councillors.

It would have provided over £200,000 a year to invest in the borough's services.

The call came at the council's Annual General Meeting - the first meeting of the new council - on 23rd May.

56% is the amount that central Government has cut from Lambeth council's budget.

Since the Labour group took power in Lambeth in 2006 councillor allowances have increased from £850,000 to over £1.2m - a rise of over 40% (see the graph below). All Councillors receive £10,597 a year. But some councillors receive additional "Special Responsibility Allowances" - some running into tens of thousands of pounds. This is despite already having full time non-council jobs, and carrying out normal councillor duties for which they are also paid. 

Lambeth Council Total Member's Allowances

As well as voting to continue the huge additional payments, in an apparently cynical move designed to provide political cover for their gravy train, Lambeth Labour also put up the Green group leaders allowance 200%! Labour's chief whip (who receives an additional allowance of £16,356) then claimed the Green Group leader had personally asked for the pay rise.

But Labour was left with egg on its face when it emerged the Green Group group leader had written to the Leader of the Labour Group a week before asking that his allowance to be decreased to just £5,000 from the amount that the previous opposition leader had received (£5,613). [1]

In a final desperate act, Lambeth Labour then leaked private councillor correspondence to a newspaper after the council meeting in an attempt to suggest that another Green councillor had asked for a rise. This also proved to be false. [2]

Cllr Scott Ainslie said: "A month in and the new Council administration is already falling into disarray under scrutiny.

"Lambeth Labour now has some serious questions to answer. Why did it increase the pay of the Green Group leader when he had asked for a decrease? Why did a cabinet member falsely claim he had asked for a rise in his allowance? And which Labour cabinet member leaked councillor correspondence in an attempt to mislead local residents?

"But the most crucial question is how Labour councillors can continue to justify awarding themselves hundreds of thousands of pounds on top of their existing council allowances - and the money they get from working full-time non-council jobs. The whole thing stinks.

"Rather than feathering its own nest and trying to protect its own interests, it should stand in solidarity with the people of Lambeth who are suffering under central government cuts. It is time that Lambeth Labour stopped the obscene gravy train that it has been on for over ten years."

 

[1]  https://www.thecanary.co/uk/analysis/2018/05/29/lambeth-council-has-sunk-to-a-new-low-with-its-latest-dirty-tricks-campaign/

[2] http://www.wandsworthguardian.co.uk/news/16260772.Row_erupts_as_opposition_leader_says_he_didn_t_ask_for_threefold_pay_rise/






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