Opposition leader blasts South Tyneside Council job axe

HITTING OUT ... Coun George Elsom.
HITTING OUT ... Coun George Elsom.

THE leader of the opposition on South Tyneside Council has hit out at the job cuts.

Coun George Elsom, a Real Independent representative for Cleadon Park says he is appalled by the news.

He hit out at Labour rivals after news that a payment of an additional allowance of £3,100 would be given to councillors attending meetings of the new North East Combined Authority ‘super council’.

In South Tyneside, the allowance payment will go to Coun Gladys Hobson for her role as the authority’s second representative on the combined authority’s Transport Committee

He said: “I am just appalled by this news in a week when they award extra allowances to councillors attending the super council.

“I hope they look at the senior staff and some of their huge wages in this.”

“Councillors receive a basic allowance of £7,226, cabinet members receive almost £12,000 and there are 48 extra responsibility allowances which cost in total of £350,000 a year.

“You are only allowed to claim two council allowances but that does not include membership of outside bodies, such as the new authority.

“It is disgraceful that they are supporting another allowance for council members to represent it on this so-called ‘super council’ - established even after the public rejected a regional assembly – at the cost of £3,100 a year.

A council spokesman said: “The council is legally obliged to have a members’ allowance scheme in place to recognise the time devoted to the work they do. Levels of allowance are set by the Independent Remuneration Panel.

“Certain councillors receive a Special Responsibility Allowance.

“This allowance recognises the additional duties arising from the council’s transport representation on the North East Combined Authority,”

Meanwhile, councillors’ allowances are to be frozen,.

The basic allowance given to all 54 borough councillors – standing at £7,226 a year – will also remain the same.

The amount paid to the council leader, Labour’s Coun Iain Malcolm, as a special responsibility allowance will be £26,496, with members of the council’s decision-making cabinet receiving £11,535.

Additionally, chairmen and vice chairmen of various committees and panels will receive between £2,409 and £9,635.