Fury has erupted after figures released show the council’s chief executive received an extra £20,000 while the local authority was cutting millions of pounds from its budget and shedding scores of jobs.
Details emerged from the council annual accounts for 2012-13 showing council chief executive Paul Martin’s pay, including bonuses and pension payments, rocketed from £254,880 to £274,224.
The council has been accused of double standards as the 7.6 per cent rise appears to contradict a three-year pay freeze for workers, only lifted in 2013-14 to allow for a 1 per cent rise.
Last night Wandsworth Conservatives voted against Labour’s proposals for limiting speeds on residential streets to 20mph. Here’s what they turned down:
‘This Council notes that already over 12 million people live in local authorities which are adopting or have adopted the policy of 20mph being the default speed limit on residential streets. Those communities have decided that “20’s Plenty Where People Live” – and it is those same communities who have then changed their behaviour to drive more slowly in residential streets where people live, walk and cycle.
Instead of considering one by one the numerous petitions submitted by people from all over the Borough, this Council agrees to instruct the Director of Environment and Community Services to submit a report to the relevant OSC and the Executive to introduce a 20mph default speed limit on our residential urban streets. This will be implemented on most streets without the need for any expensive physical calming measures, although it is noted that on some streets it may be appropriate to have a higher limit based on the road, vulnerable road users provision already installed, etc. But any limit above 20mph should be a considered decision based on local circumstances, with the new default Borough limit being 20mph.’
By Cllr. Rex Osborn, Leader of Wandsworth Labour Group
The council tax is a regressive tax which penalises the private rent-payer, the council rent-payer, the elderly and the less well off. This time of recession is not the time to increase it and Labour has a way of saving an extra £5m to which the Conservatives are opposed.
With many households across Wandsworth still feeling the squeeze, the Labour Group believes the Council should be doing everything it can to help residents this year – not putting up Council tax at a time when residents can least afford it.
Furthermore, we’re alarmed at its decision to gamble with £500,000 of taxpayers’ money, by betting that some clever accounting will ensure it qualifies for the Government’s council tax freeze grant. If it doesn’t pay off, residents will be left with higher council tax as well as another £500,000 hole in the Council’s budget.
The Labour Group supports the exploration of a rationalisation of Council departments – but we’re concerned that these proposals are not thought through and that the Tory Leader, Cllr. Govindia, has committed the Council to an unrealistic time-frame.
By announcing these half-baked plans without understanding all the repercussions, the Leader has left hundreds of Council employees fearing for their jobs, and concerned about the uncertainty which now lies ahead.
We would urge the Tories to slow the process down, and understand all the options before committing to any radical overhaul of the Council.”