Back in May 2016, Cllr Sachin Shah took over as leader of the council, when Cllr David Perry stood down. However, what might have been missed by residents is that Cllr Perry was swiftly granted a non-executive seat on cabinet. So what? Big deal, you might be thinking.
But that non-executive (and non-voting) seat won him a Special Responsibility Allowance of almost £7,000 per year (sec 1 clause 3 in the referred document). Not a bad little earner, considering it comes with no responsibilities at all. A cabinet member, in comparison, gets an additional £20,100 per year. The Leader, Cllr Shah, gets an additional £31,400 per year. All those are on top of their base allowance of £8,340 (para 2).
So, is Cllr Sachin Shah buying votes? No, of course not – and we wouldn’t suggest that at all, as that would be unethical and clearly wrong. But that £7k works out at something like £300/hour (assuming 12 meetings a year and two hours – often less – per meeting) and it’s always handy to have a mate on board who gives the illusion of challenge. You wouldn’t pay much more that for an hour of, erm, entertainment at a house of ill-repute in some of the pricier parts of London (although we’re reliably informed that the going rate in Harrow is around £70/hour if that’s your thing, see here – not safe for work!). Anyway, I digress.
What also might have been missed is that Cllr Shah can appoint upto three more non-exec members of cabinet (para 172 viii here), which is a handy way to keep those more, ah, troublesome councillors friendly. Add up all the cabinet members, portfolio holder assistants, and non-exec members, and that’s an awful lot of money being spent…
Nice little earner indeed. With rumours abound of Cllr Shah’s honeymoon as leader being almost over, and reports of petitions at the Council Depot, Cllr Shah clearly needs all the mates he can get.