Independent Group amendment to Item 11 (Scheme of Members’ allowances 2016/17 – including an astonishing increase in Labour Mayor and Tory Leader’s salaries and appointment of 3 advisers)
Proposer: Cllr Oli Rahman
Seconder: Cllr Rabina Khan
Note to the Chief Executive, Monitoring Officer and Democratic Services: Given the importance of this decision, we would like to ask that this amendment, regardless of the outcome, should be part of the minutes with a recorded vote for each Councillor under 17.4).
Change the recommendation to be amended and incorporated as follows:
Taking into consideration the fact that Mayor John Biggs and his administration in their Budget for 2016/17:
• Increased the Council Tax by 4% for ordinary residents of Tower Hamlets while it was frozen for many years by the previous administration – a Council Tax rebate for residents in real term, despite huge austerity cuts;
• Increased the essential charges for residents and small businesses by an additional 1.7% in the Fee and Charges Schedule;
• Failed to note and appreciate that the staff at Tower Hamlets Council have not had a fair and adequate increase in their salaries for a number of years – and capped at 1%;
• Slashed or reduced the front line services and other essential provisions for the most vulnerable residents, including children, women and the disabled;
• Disingenuously and hypocritically did not incorporate the new posts of three Mayoral Advisers, paid for by the local tax payers, to pay an extra £21,000 to three Labour Cllrs for advice – a role they are already obligated to fulfil. This is after the Mayor’s Office has been budgeted to £605,000 – including the Head of Mayor’s Office costing in the range of £85,000 – £100,000, a new Head of Marketing at £100,000; and
• Reduced front line Tower Hamlets Partnership Police Officers to 6 from 41, despite huge issues and concerns around the rise in anti-social behaviour, drug and gang related crimes.
Whilst also taking in to consideration:
• The Scheme of Members’ Allowances 2016/17 has not transparently outlined whether Mayor John Biggs will be receiving the full increase for his entire term until 2018. In particular, this would make the spin to forego £3,953 for this year, an insulting gesture given the fact the Labour Group proposed, voted and passed an amendment on October, 27, 2010 to cut the Mayor’s salary by £10,000 to £65,000 which is demonstrative of their political bias and vindictiveness.
• The Independent Review to increase the Member’s allowances was available to the previous mayor, who decided against an increase due to austerity cuts and to sharing the pain with staff and residents who were suffering under the Tory-led Government.
Based on the above facts, the Council agrees to:
Freeze all Member’s allowances, including the Mayoral and Special Responsibility Allowances, until such a time when the staff are given an adequate, fair and proportionate rise, Council Tax is frozen and/or austerity cuts have been dealt with, anything less will mean that Mayor John Biggs and his administration is more interested in lining up their pocket rather than providing value for money and standing up for people of Tower Hamlets.