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GMB local government union slams Tower Hamlets cabinet giving themselves £6,000 pay rises

PUBLISHED: 18:48 18 May 2018 | UPDATED: 18:53 18 May 2018

Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs under fire over plans to give cabinet members 60pc more pay. Picture: Mike Brooke

Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs under fire over plans to give cabinet members 60pc more pay. Picture: Mike Brooke

Mike Brooke

Trade union bosses have tonight slammed reports that Tower Hamlets’ Labour Mayor John Biggs is planning to pay his inner circle cabinet members a 60 per cent rise in their council allowance.

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 GMB union representing local government workers is calling on the town hall to “pull back from paying unjustified huge pay rises” planned at the council’s annual general meeting next Wednesday.

It follows the East London Advertiser revealing this-morning that the mayor’s cabinet was set to whack up their £14,000 annual allowance to £20,000, while three deputy mayors would have their £16,000 payments increased to £30,000.

“I find it disgraceful when public sector workers are facing redundancy and cuts,” GMB’s political officer Gary Doolan said.

“Councillors are not ‘employed’ and should have a set allowance and no more—it should not rise with inflation as it’s not part of their employment.”

The new Labour group at the town hall holding 42 of the 45 seats on Tower Hamlets Council after their landlise at the polls. Picture source: LBTHThe new Labour group at the town hall holding 42 of the 45 seats on Tower Hamlets Council after their landlise at the polls. Picture source: LBTH

Many local government staff have faced reviews which have led to downgrading of jobs, the union pointed out, while “councillors feel it’s okay to have a massive pay rise at the same time”.

Mr Doolan added: “It’s just one big long gravy train for councillors who are in it for the money—they are sitting around the trough stuffing gold bars in their mouths. It feels like Carillion all over again.”

The chief whip on the Labour-run authority who gets nothing at present is to receive £11,000 from scratch.

That brought condemnation from the lone People’s Alliance opposition councillor Rabina Khan that the post was “not a public function”—but was just to discipline Labour party members.

Mayor John Biggs’ three political advisers are to see their £7,000 allowances rise to £12,000. But he won’t take a rise himself—he’ll stick with his £75,000 annual allowance.

The mayor insists he needs to attract “a wide pool of talent” to his cabinet. The ‘special responsibility’ allowance would be increased to ensure it recognised the time commitment of a cabinet role and the impact on their ability to take other work or provide childcare.

Cabinet members were expected to earn their keep by dedicating at least two days a week to the council and deputy mayors to dedicate three days.

The proposed increases going before the council’s AGM face little opposition, with the Labour group holding 42 of the 45 seats following the May 3 landslide at the polls.

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