Tory group leader in cash row
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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