'Jobs for the boys' as Council Cabinet doubles in size

Date published: 16 May 2013

In a move criticised as "jobs for the boys", the controlling Labour group on Rochdale Borough Council voted to double the size of the Council Cabinet by creating Assistant Portfolio Holders and paying each a further £2,500 'Special Responsibility Allowance' on top of the allowance they already receive as a councillor.

Deputy leader of the Labour group, Councillor Peter Williams defended the move in the face of fierce criticism from the Conservatives and Lib Dems suggesting that due to a reduction in cabinet posts the new roles are effectively "cost neutral".

Councillor Robert Clegg (C) said the real cost is £20,000. He also wanted to know what the assistants would do for their money and to whom they are accountable.

Councillor Hilary Rogers said: "In this economic climate of cut backs, job losses and people in fear of losing their jobs, it could be seen that our council leaders are creating jobs for themselves and cuts for everyone else. At this rate their will be more cabinet members than staff.

"The people of this Borough deserve elected representatives that they can trust to help them in difficult times, not elected representatives who take the time to help themselves."

Leader of the Lib Dems, Councillor Andy Kelly said: "It is a case of jobs for the boys at a cost of £37,000 over two years. It is going to be interesting to see how the Labour Group try and justify this to the residents of Rochdale Borough."

Councillor Dale Mulgrew said it was wrong that the money to fund the new posts is coming from "the pressures fund", he explained that this fund was supposed to be for "emergencies" and creating eight new cabinet posts "is not an emergency".

Councillor Williams responded by saying that such roles were "common practice elsewhere in Greater Manchester".

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