Feb 18 2013

Harrow’s Labour Group’s “Repellent” Plans for Secret New Allowance

cllr_barryHarrow Council’s Labour administration is proposing to introduce a new allowance for councillors, which could cost taxpayers over £65,000.

Buried deep in Labour’s budget for 2013-14 are plans to create a new Special Responsibility Allowance for councillors – for 10 Labour councillors to serve as ‘Portfolio Advisers’. Whilst a position of ‘Portfolio Holder Assistant’, with a £2,040 allowance and a defined set of responsibilities, already exists, the new roles carry with them an allowance of £6,630 a year – yet no role profile appears to exist! Cllr. Barry Macleod-Cullinane, Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group, questioned Council and Labour Leader Cllr. Thaya Idaikkadar about the new allowance at the Cabinet meeting on 14th February.

Cllr. Macleod-Cullinane said: “Could Labour have found a more unsavoury way to give their councillors extra money than to do it in a budget which is going to raise council tax and decimate our staff, with 230 redundancies, and cut so many of our valued services? To add insult to injury, Cllr. Idaikkadar’s answers demonstrate that Labour hasn’t got a clue what the new role is actually for, nor how many they plan to have; Cllr. Idaikkadar said there could be ‘any number up to 10’, which would result in a total allowance bill of £66,300.”

Cllr. Macleod-Cullinane explained: “Cllr. Idaikkadar said that, in essence, portfolio advisers will come into existence when full portfolio holders (who make up the Cabinet) decide they want to divvy up some of their responsibilities. He suggested that, when this happened, they’d also split the allowance amount – so the total cost to taxpayers wouldn’t change. Except that’s not what Labour is doing; the budget documents show them creating a separate role with a separate allowance. Also, Cabinet’s responsibilities are set formally, in the Constitution, by Council, and by law; they can’t be delegated at the Leader’s whim, no matter how much he
may wish or need to reward his payroll vote.”

Cllr. Macleod-Cullinane continued: “The Council Leader then said the full portfolio holder would maintain overall responsibility for all decisions; so if these advisors can’t or won’t make decisions, what are they for and why do they warrant over £6,000 a year? What Labour is doing is so lacking in transparency that it’s actually repellent.”

Cllr. Macleod-Cullinane concluded: “Harrow residents deserve better than this chaotic, failing Labour administration; whose embattled Leader is seemingly so desperate to pay-off deals made during Labour’s leadership election and to cling to power that he’s throwing taxpayers’ money around like confetti. While our Council and the services that our residents depend upon are left to rot around them, the Labour Group is behaving like vultures – dividing up the spoils of office like the last remaining remnants of flesh.”

Cllr. Barry Macleod-Cullinane – 07976 712611

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