Tower Hamlets Mayor’s office budget up 65 per cent from last year
PUBLISHED: 12:56 17 January 2013 | UPDATED: 20:51 20 January 2013
The budget for advisors to cash-strapped Tower Hamlets Council’s Mayor has almost doubled for the next financial year, it has emerged.
The council’s Labour group released figures claiming more than £700,000 per year is set to be spent on staff members, advisors, stationery, car lease and hospitality in the Mayor’s office during the next financial year – up from £424,000 last year.
The revelations of the lavish working lifestyle enjoyed by Mayor Lutfur Rahman and his colleagues come at a time when the council is under pressure to make £100million savings over four years.
Campaign manager of the Taxpayers’ Alliance Robert Oxley described the news as “remarkable”.
“The Mayor is spending taxpayers’ cash on building his own personal empire rather dealing with the issues that really matter to hard-pressed local residents”, he added.
“The way the local authority is being run is deeply worrying and requires independent scrutiny.”
Labour councillors have urged the Mayor to end “wasteful spending” in the Town Hall, warning of a looming £44m black hole within three years.
“It’s a disgrace that the Mayor is spending over £700,000 a year of taxpayer money on his own personal entourage”, said Labour’s spokesperson for resources cllr Carlo Gibbs.
The new budget came into effect on January 7.
A full week after the Advertiser requested a comment from the Mayor’s office, a statement was issued insisting actual expenditure was likely to be lower.
A spokesperson said: “The Mayoral system has been supported by successive governments as an efficient and accountable form of local government. Under this system the Mayor has extensive responsibilities and it is essential that adequate support is in place for this.”
The £700,000 budget is almost five times the £144,000 budgeted for Members of Parliament to run two offices - one in their constituency and one in Westminster.
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