Haringey Labour increase their allowances by stealth

A quick quiz for you. One of the Haringey local newspapers, The Hornsey Journal, had this story on 14 May:

Under fire councillors opt to take pay freeze
The recession is about to hit councillors in the pocket, after both Haringey Labour and Liberal Democrat parties decided NOT to take a pay rise …

Councillor Claire Kober, Leader of the Labour-controlled council, said, “… This move will mean any savings can go straight into providing essential services for the people of Haringey.”

So, do you think that Labour voted through changes that resulted in the council’s allowances bill:

a) Staying the same, or
b) Increasing by £44,751 (7%)?

I’ll give you a clue. It’s not (a).

The changes produced a sneaky stealth allowance increase because, by shuffling round who held what post, Labour was able to increase the amount of money its councillors receive whilst also claiming that the headline allowance figures were unchanged.

(Some councillors held more than one post which entitled them to a Special Responsibility Allowance (SRA), but could only receive one SRA payment. By giving up their other SRA post to someone else, they still receive the same amount in allowances but the other person gets a boost in their allowances.)

This increase comes at a time when Haringey has recently had its rating drop to one star, a report has just been published into the death of Baby Peter which concluded that his death could and should have been prevented, and there are one or two other expenses stories around. So you can see why Labour might want to try to hide an allowances increase…

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