Lambeth Council is set to pay councillors more than £1million in allowances in the next year after a vote last week.
The council approved £1.15million to be paid in councillor allowances for the civic year 2022 to 2023 following a vote at their Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 25 May.
The basic allowance for each of the 63 councillors was set at £10,597, and additional ‘special responsibility allowances’ (SRAs) were approved for those councillors with other duties.
Council leader, Claire Holland will receive an SRA of £40,617, whilst the deputy leaders Jacqui Dyer and Danny Adilypour will receive £28,518 each, as will cabinet members.
A spokesperson from Lambeth Council said: “Lambeth’s councillor allowance is below comparable London boroughs.”
They added that the basic rate approved is below the £12,014 recommended by the Independent Panel report on the remuneration of London councillors.
In order to receive the basic rate, the Local Government Act 1972 says that council members must attend a minimum of one meeting every six months.
Councillor Donna Harris, leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition on Lambeth Council agreed that the basic rate approved reflects the position in most other London boroughs and is lower than elsewhere.
However, she said: “The so-called ‘six month rule’ is set out in legislation but the problem we have in Lambeth is that so many of the wards are ‘safe’ for Labour that those who win them grow complacent and do the bare minimum.
“What Liberal Democrats questioned closely was the sheer scale of ‘special responsibility’ allowances divvied out to the Labour group, almost half of whom have been awarded some kind of extra cash.”
Also on the agenda on Wednesday was the allocation of seats and titles to different councillors across the parties on the council.
The number of seats allocated is required by national legislation to be in proportion to the number of seats won by each party.
A council spokesperson said: “The Labour administration has granted additional seats above the minimum required to be given to the opposition to aid in their scrutiny and accountability work.”
Harris said the range of special ‘champions’, deputy cabinet members, and even deputy whips command an additional sum of taxpayer’s money.
She added: “Meanwhile, scrutiny chair positions have also all been handed out to Labour councillors, despite there now being two opposition groups ready and willing to do this work.
“It smacks of a council which is marking its own homework and of a leadership keen to shore up its position by handing out plum jobs.”
On Thursday, council leader Claire Holland set out Labour’s vision for what it hopes these new roles will achieve in the borough:
Full details of the new positions and allowances granted can be found on Lambeth Council’s website.