Southwark Labour has increased the number of paid council positions for its own councillors, with elected Labour members now taking home up to £513,294 for work done on top of their basic allowance.
A total of 31 ‘special responsibility allowances’ (SRAs) have been awarded to Labour members following May's local elections, up from 27 last year. As well as taking committee positions away from opposition councillors, an additional ‘deputy cabinet member’ post has been created, increasing the number of SRAs available to Labour councillors.
One Cabinet member post has also been split between two Labour members.
It means Labour now receive 95% of all SRAs at the council, even though they represent 76% of elected council seats in the borough.
Women losing out
Labour’s contingent of women councillors seems to be missing out on many of the paid positions however. 21 of the 28 men in the administration (75%) have been appointed to an official role – with only 10 of the 20 female Labour councillors (50%) offered a similar post.
Commenting, leader of the Liberal Democrat Group at Southwark Council, Cllr Anood Al-Samerai, said:
"Southwark Labour has cut frontline services like street cleaning and the noise team, but always seems to be able to find a bit of extra cash to create new positions for its own councillors."
"There are big questions over what ‘deputy cabinet members’ even do, and I’m very sceptical that they are a good use of public money. It seems more like an exercise in trying to keep Labour councillors on-message than anything else."