Senior councillors under fire over ‘inflation-busting’ pay increases
Labour councillors fear they will look like 'grasping politicians'
21 August, 2019 — By Tom Foot
Council leader Georgia Gould to get a £10,000 pay boost
SENIOR councillors are set for “inflation-busting” pay rises including a £10,000-a-year boost for the Town Hall leader Georgia Gould.
The Labour Group voted in favour of the eye-catching increases at a closed meeting on Monday night, with the proposal set to be waved through at the Town Hall next month.
The lion’s share of the rises are going to a small clique of cabinet members – most have second jobs – leading to protests from backbenchers. Six councillors voted against the proposals while 18 were in favour.
A source in the Labour Group said: “You should be going into politics to help local people, not for the money. It’s a question of public service.
“Add to that the council has been telling people for years that there is no money for services. It’s the wrong thing to do, and the wrong time to do it. This is a bad look – it makes us look like grasping politicians.”
All councillors also receive a basic allowance of £9,849, which is being increased to £10,300.
The new “banded” system that will take the extra “special allowance” pay to Cllr Gould, who does not have a second job, to £40,000, up from £29,300.
Her colleagues on the cabinet will be paid £25,000, up from £16,275 a year. Scrutiny panels Chairs will receive around £9,000 a year, compared to the current £5,426.
Sources say cabinet members were arguing the need to “just get on with it” at the meeting on Monday night.
Camden Conservatives leader Cllr Oliver Cooper, who will remain on £16,275 under the changes, said: “Residents putting in untold unremunerated hours running their community groups or residents’ associations should be encouraged to see councillors as their equal partners, not well-paid betters.
“For Labour to say they can afford inflation-busting pay rises for the cabinet says everything you need to know about their priorities.”
Cllr Gould has defended the raises saying that a review of London councillors pay showed a “stark gap between Camden councillor allowances and independent recommendations.”
She added: “If we want to have diversity of local leaders we have to make sure that affordability and living costs aren’t a barrier to people putting themselves forward to lead.”