The first ‘Golden Goodbye’ payments for Southwark council cabinet members have been paid out, with a second batch in the pipeline. These payments, which the UK government states are ‘unlawful’, are given to councillors that cease to be cabinet members either by voluntarily resigning or are relieved of their post.
Before the election, Labour council leader Peter John said the payments were merely ‘theoretical’, though the first batch have already been made to those cabinet members who chose to resign from their posts months in advance of the election. One member decided to forgo the payments following the public criticism, but the others accepted, with payments now totaling over £12,000.
The second batch of payments will soon be made to those council cabinet members who lost their positions in the reshuffle. Southwark Council tax payers will fork out an estimated £12,000 for those who Labour decided not to reappointed to continue to their posts. No other council appears to makes these payments, and no such payments are made to other council employees. More Golden Goodbyes will be made to all future cabinet members who lose their posts, whether they choose to resign or are moved on. Before the next election, the total amount of these Golden Goodbyes could reach £100,000.
Cllr David Noakes, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition on Southwark Council said ‘Put simply, these payments are not on. Council-tax payers are essentially having to pay Labour councillors to stop doing their job. Why should they? No other council does this. Thankfully at least one has had the common sense to see that it’s wrong to take these payments. Will other Labour councillors now follow suit and end these pointless, expensive and self-indulgent hand-outs for good?’
12th June, 2018
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
- The absence of such severance payments to ordinary council staff was confirmed by email by Southwark Council’s HR department.
- The ministerial answer to a written question concerning such payments can be found here: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Lords/2016-11-01/HL2869
- The House of Commons Library confirmation came in response to email question. A copy may be forwarded on request
- 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 served 2 years and has received £4,031
- One Cabinet Member served 8 years and has received £8,062