Tory group leader in cash row

Rutherglen Reformer - - Intimations -

The leader of the Tory group in South La­nark­shire Coun­cil has been ac­cused of“feathering his own nest”by ac­cept­ing an ad­di­tional pay­ment of more than £3,000.

Leader of the in­de­pen­dent group, Avondale and Stone­house coun­cil­lor Mar­garet Cooper, ques­tioned the spe­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity pay­ment (SRA) be­ing made to coun­cil­lor Alex Al­li­son – £3,286 on top of his £16,927 ba­sic salary.

And she com­pared it to the deal struck be­tween the Con­ser­va­tives and DUP at Westminster.

It was agreed at the first full meet­ing of South La­nark­shire Coun­cil that, given the po­lit­i­cal make-up of the new administration, Coun­cil­lor Al­li­son should re­ceive the ad­di­tional pay­ment which is given to the leader of the op­po­si­tion and has also been given to the leader of the Labour group.

The cash is from ex­ist­ing funds set aside for spe­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity pay­ments.

But Coun­cil­lor Cooper said:“I find this ab­so­lutely as­ton­ish­ing - es­pe­cially since it is a party which has sup­ported aus­ter­ity mea­sures.

“Coun­cil­lor Al­li­son is feathering his own nest by tak­ing this pay­ment.

“This is set­ting a prece­dent as it has never been known for the leader of the third op­po­si­tion group to re­ceive ad­di­tional money.

“There is no doubt that this seems to be a grubby deal – a se­cret coali­tion and cash for votes mir­ror­ing the Con­ser­va­tive deal with the Demo­cratic Union­ist Party in Westminster.

“When our own coun­cil em­ploy­ees are fac­ing cuts of more than £27m Coun­cil­lor Al­li­son is will­ing to take the crumbs from the SNP’s ta­ble?

“If we took it fur­ther - there are five main groups in the coun­cil – we are an op­po­si­tion group, so by the same to­ken should be en­ti­tled to it – although we have no in­ter­est in it as that’s not what we are here for.”

But Coun­cil­lor Al­li­son, who is the mem­ber for Cly­des­dale East, said:“It’s good to see pol­i­tics hasn’t died.

“The op­po­si­tion group is larger than it has been in the past.

“We have more than one party re­quir­ing sup­port in cre­at­ing an ef­fec­tive op­po­si­tion.

“I do be­lieve it is in­cum­bent on the administration that all parts of the op­po­si­tion are able to func­tion.

“We are al­most equal in num­bers to the lead­ing group.

“We are not spend­ing the whole bud­get for this and I don’t even think there are the same num­ber of se­nior po­si­tions as there was in the pre­vi­ous administration.

“And whether it is my­self or not who re­ceives this, it’s not rel­e­vant.”

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