The government understands that political patronage is corrosive and they’ve written guidance to police it. This guidance has been trounced by Damian White. The Resident Association’s Brian Eagling will be deputy mayor during 2020-1 and Damian has doubled his Special Responsibility Allowance (SRA). It’s legal but is it wise?
The deputy mayor’s allowance has more than doubled to £8,160. Responsibilities haven’t doubled. The 2018 SRA for the deputy mayor was £4,000 and is now increased to £8,160. This is blatant political patronage, reflecting Brian’s importance to the maintenance of Damian’s administration. He, and the other Harold Wood councillors, are vital to the stability of Damian’s minority administration. Following Bob Perry’s defection, their importance has increased.
It’s politically convenient to throw money at Brian but is this what taxpayers want? The guidance has a touching belief in the acuity of the local electorate:- “the local electorate may rightly question whether this was justified.” In the real world of local politics everyone knows that SRAs are not a major issue beyond a world weary, ‘They’re only in it for themselves’. Damian’s cute move isn’t illegal and won’t be costly in the 2022 election. Its ultimate cost is that that it’s destroying the public’s faith in politicians and democracy itself.
Brian has been a brilliant mayor in the past and will be in his mayoral year but doubling his allowance is an outrageous use of taxpayers’ money for political advantage.
For the government’s guidance see https://www.gov.uk/hmrc-internal-manuals/employment-income-manual/eim65960
For the 2018 Havering scheme for Special Responsibility Allowances see https://democracy.havering.gov.uk/documents/s30715/Report%20-%20Special%20Responsibility%20Allowances.pdf
For the 2020 scheme see https://www.time1075.net/156776-2-havering-councillors-allowances-increase/
2 thoughts on “The Irresistible Importance of Brian Eagling: the Deputy Mayor’s Allowance for 2020-1”
It seems you got the details regarding the Deputy Mayor completely wrong but I haven’t noticed a blog acknowledging this. Why blacken people’s names when you don’t know the correct facts.
Councillor Eagling didn’t become deputy mayor for the year 2020-1. The point about a special increase of the allowance for him therefore doesn’t apply and was my mistake. The more general point about the use of Special Allowances by the Conservative Leader does apply. I’d like to underline the point I made about his previous performance, which has been uniformly excellent.
I’m sorry if this has caused any difficulties and I wish it had been raised earlier.