Southwark Council has confirmed that three members of the Council Cabinet who announced their resignation months ago will each receive four-figure pay-offs. Opposition Liberal Democrat councillors have described as a ‘scandalous use of council taxpayers’ money’.
In total, more than £17,000 in council taxpayers’ money will now be spent on ‘golden goodbyes’ for the Southwark Labour leadership.
In 2016, Southwark Labour crowbarred a pay-off policy into the council’s constitution, entitling its Cabinet Members to ‘payments for loss of office’. No such policy exists for ordinary members of Southwark Council staff.
Not content with helping themselves to an extra month’s pay, a ‘pay-off escalator’ was introduced to top-up payments for time in office.
As reported by Southwark News on 25th January, three members of the Southwark Labour Cabinet are effectively resigning from their jobs. Southwark Council also confirmed that no matter how much advance notice a Cabinet Member gives of their plans to quit, the pay-offs are still paid in full.
Southwark Labour put council tax up 5% last year and another 6% this year. In their manifesto, they say they ‘use every penny as if it were from their own pocket’. Yet more than £4m in waste went untouched at the budget in February.
The golden goodbyes are just the latest in a series of vanity projects at Southwark Council from a Labour leadership who, during a Council Assembly, literally laughed at the possibility it might lose in May’s local elections. In 2016, Southwark Council notoriously blew £15,000 redesigning its own logo to remove a single dot.
Cllr Damian O’Brien, Deputy Leader of the Southwark Liberal Democrat council group commented: “We are still shocked that Southwark Labour think they can get away with this. These Labour politicians are voluntarily resigning from their jobs months in advance. Why should they receive an additional pay-off for not working?’
This is the sort of self-indulgent nonsense you’d expect at Goldman Sachs – not in public service. Sadly, this is what happens in a One Party State where Labour has nearly 80% of local council seats despite most people voting against them.”
Cllr James Barber added “It’s bad enough that pay-offs are handed out every time the Labour Leader has a reshuffle – it’s hardly the taxpayers’ fault if someone loses out in the machinations of Southwark Labour politics – but to do it when councillors choose to resign, with months and months of notice, is beyond belief. If any further proof were needed that Southwark Labour need their wings clipping – this is it.”
“This kind of thing destroys public confidence in politics. Extreme, rage-driven politics is surging – on the left and right – and it’s down to this sort of behaviour from mainstream politicians. Any policy like this that shows politicians on the take has to be stamped out immediately.’
Notes to editor
- ‘Payments for loss of office’ introduced in 2016
- Report: Constitutional Issues 2015/16: http://moderngov.southwark.gov.uk/documents/s60412/Report%20Constitutional%20Issues%20201516.pdf
- At the Southwark Budget on 21st February, the Opposition Budget proposed scrapping ‘Golden Goodbyes’ and other wasteful spending in order to avoid a £2.9m council tax rise. All 48 Labour councillors voted against it. http://moderngov.southwark.gov.uk/documents/b50009096/Supplemental%20Agenda%20no.%201%20Wednesday%2021-Feb-2018%2019.00%20Council%20Assembly.pdf?T=9
- Golden Goodbyes entitle Cabinet Members to 4 weeks annual pay (Special Responsibility Allowance), plus 1 week for every year in office.
- Weekly Cabinet Member pay is £671.87
- 3 Cabinet Members resigned on 25th January 2018: https://www.southwarknews.co.uk/news/three-senior-cabinet-members-stand-next-election/
- One Cabinet Member has served 2 years and will receive: £4,031
- One Cabinet Member has served 4 years and will receive: £5,375
- One Cabinet Member has served 8 years and will receive: £8,062
16th April, 2018