Cabinet members at Tower Hamlets to pay themselves 60pc rise in council allowances

PUBLISHED: 11:00 18 May 2018 | UPDATED: 18:56 18 May 2018

Tower Hamlets Mayor Biggs aiming to stop cruise-liner terminal polluting Isle of Dogs. Picture: Mike Brooke

Tower Hamlets Mayor Biggs aiming to stop cruise-liner terminal polluting Isle of Dogs. Picture: Mike Brooke

Mike Brooke

Members of John Biggs’ Tower Hamlets cabinet are set to whack up their council allowances by £6,000 a year while his three deputy mayors are set for around 110 per cent rises.

Tower Hamlets Council allowances for cabinet members rising by 60pc. Picture: Mike BrookeTower Hamlets Council allowances for cabinet members rising by 60pc. Picture: Mike Brooke

The inner circle councillors will take away £20,000 a year and the deputy mayors £30,000.

The proposals go before the council’s annual general meeting next Wednesday, with the mayor’s ruling Labour group holding 42 of the 45 seats following the May 3 landslide at the polls.

“We need to attract a wide pool of talent to the Cabinet,” Mayor Biggs told the East London Advertiser in a statement.

“We are proposing ‘special responsibility’ allowance increases to ensure they recognise the time commitment of the role and the impact on their ability to take other work or provide childcare.”

Cabinet members are expected to “dedicate at least two days a week” to the council and deputy mayors three days.

People's Alliance opposition Cllr Rabina Khan... People's Alliance opposition Cllr Rabina Khan... "Labour's first act is lining their own pockets." Picture: Mike Brooke

But People’s Alliance opposition councillor Rabina Khan hit out at Labour’s first act on returning to office to “reward themselves with huge pay increases”.

She said: “Council workers have gone for years without a real pay increase, while Labour celebrates its re-election with bumper rises for the next four years close to £1 million from the public purse.”

The executive mayor has turned down a pay rise himself and is sticking to his yearly £75,000.

But his chief whip who gets nothing at present is to receive £11,000 from scratch—despite overwhelming Labour control compared to the slender majority of just one before the election.

A furious Cllr Kahn, who lost the race for mayor on May 3, argues: “The chief whip doesn’t perform a public function—just enforces discipline in the Labour party.”

She added: “They told us they would clear out corruption, but their first act is to line their own pockets. It’s a scandal.”

Cllr Khan is urging the Mayor to withdraw the pay rises, but her lone voice along with the two Conservative opposition councillors won’t carry weight at Wednesday’s council vote.

The Labour administration, which pointed out that the increased allowances are less than the London independent panel recommendations, has spent £7m on staff redundancies and payoffs since regaining office in 2015.

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