It has emerged that Haringey’s Labour councillors have awarded themselves an extra £44,751 in allowances for the next municipal year despite the Leader of the Council saying that they would not take any increase. The 7% rise in the total allowances awarded to Labour councillors has come under severe criticism from opposition councillors who have repeatedly campaigned to lower the allowance scheme burden on local taxpayers.
In April, despite Liberal Democrats opposition, Labour councillors voted unanimously to award themselves an annual increase in allowances only to be embarrassed into a humiliating u-turn last week. This new revelation of a stealth increase will anger local residents and goes against Cllr Kober’s comments that the Council should tighten its belt and “any savings can go straight into providing essential services for the people of Haringey.”
At Monday’s Council AGM Labour voted unanimously for all positions with Special Responsibility Allowance (SRA) meaning that the total spend on allowances increased from £676,533 last year to £721,284 in the coming year. Now only 3 Labour councillors out of 32 will not receive any form of additional payment.
Liberal Democrats are committed to reducing the number of SRA positions.
Councillor Ed Butcher, Liberal Democrat Finance Spokesperson comments:
“When local residents are struggling to make ends met they will be shocked to learn that Labour councillors are busy lining their own pockets and maximising how much money they receive from taxpayers.
“It is no wonder the Labour administration ignored pleas for a council tax freeze – they obviously needed the extra cash to pay their own allowances.
“The Labour leader has been quoted as saying councillors should tighten their belts too in this financial crisis. Well, this looks like they sadly added a few extra notches on Monday.”
Lynne Featherstone MP, Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Hornsey & Wood Green adds:
“When the town hall should be trying to reduce costs, Labour councillors are going in completely the opposite direction.
“They should be thinking up solutions to help local people in a recession, not wheezes and fiddles so they can claim extra money for themselves.”