Fresh from revelations that Labour’s London Mayoral hopeful Sadiq Khan believes voters to be “bastards”, Labour councillors in Hammersmith & Fulham have confirmed their party’s contempt for residents by dipping into taxpayers’ pockets for a whopping pay increase.
Last Wednesday night, H&F Labour Councillors unanimously voted to increase the pay to their Cabinet by more than £73,000 on top of what the 2014 Conservative administration was paid - an incredible 27% increase.
In what can only be described as a “jobs for the boys” culture, Labour have increased the size of the Council’s Cabinet from 8 under the Conservatives to 11 with their Chief Whip today. To put that in perspective, H&F Council now has a Cabinet bigger than the City of Birmingham, despite the fact H&F has a population of 182,000 compared to Birmingham’s million!
Not only is this a wasteful use of money when finances are tight, but totally inefficient. For a start Labour see the need to have a separate Cabinet Member for Finance, when under the Conservatives that was the rightly the responsibility of the Council Leader. They have also added a Cabinet Member for “Commercial Revenue & Resident Satisfaction”. How on earth is this a distinct role?
When I had the privilege of serving the residents of our borough in the Council Cabinet between 2006 and 2014, it was inherent to my job and all my colleagues’ jobs to ensure we were maximising areas of commercial revenue within our own departments and likewise deliver services residents were pleased with. None of us needed an additional colleague to try and do that bit for us!
Labour have also increased the number of Special Responsibility Allowances (extra money) for their Councillors. Incredibly, 24 out of 26 Labour Councillors now receive extra money, with only two remaining as backbenchers. What these two have done to be so out of favour is uncertain, but what is even more extraordinary was the appointment of three paid whips to ensure those two backbenchers always do as their leadership tells them.
So, in the week when the UK inflation rate went into negative numbers, Hammersmith & Fulham Labour councillors are paying themselves more of your money. In 2018, I give a clear guarantee that if the Conservatives win back the trust of H&F residents and are elected to run the council, there will be a Cabinet of no more than eight members, including the Leader and the Chief Whip, so that we may save money and return to efficiency.
What this sorry state of affairs really tells us is that the Labour leopard has not changed its spots. "Same old Labour" isn’t just a soundbite, but visibly demonstrated, with your money, in Hammersmith & Fulham.