New Members Allowances brought in against Residents’ Association wishes
On Wednesday 26 February, Havering Council held a Full Council meeting to set the new budget and Council Tax levels for the 2020/21 financial year. As part of this meeting, new allowance rates for elected councillors were set.
The current Conservative Administration proposed an increase in the Basic Allowance for councillors of £204 per year, as well an increase of the Leader’s allowance of £853, an increase of the Deputy Mayor’s allowance of £4,160 and the creation of one or more Deputy Cabinet Member posts at £14,677 each. They also proposed raising the allowances for the Leader of the Principle Opposition by £7,056 and Leader of Minority Opposition Groups by £2,080 (both as an opt-in). Other cabinet and committee chairman post allowances were also proposed to be raised. The total cost of these allowance increases was calculated at £44,000
The Upminster and Cranham Residents’ Association councillors joined with other RA groups to oppose these increases in allowances, which come at a time when Havering Council have to make savings of another £14 million this year. Instead, the Residents Associations proposed alternative reduced Members Allowances, that would have reduced many non-basic allowances and produced savings of £123,000 from the existing overall cost (£167,000 after the proposed increases). A full list of the RA proposals can be found on the attached link.
When a vote was held, the Residents Associations alternative allowance proposals were defeated by 29 votes to 23 (Two members were absent due to sickness) and the Administration’s increases voted in by the same margin. All 26 Conservative Councillors, plus the three councillors representing Harold Wood Ward, voted for this.
The increase in allowances is strongly opposed by all of the Upminster and Cranham Residents’ Association Councillors. We cannot see how those in control can seek to award themselves more money when council tax payers from across the borough, including those on the lowest incomes, are all having to pay more again this year.