Political editor WALTER CRONXITE on the thousands of pounds of public money given by the council to the local Tory and Conservative parties
Meet Simon Brew.
You may never have heard of him before, but through your Council Tax over the next four years, you’ll be paying him at least £71,944.
Simon Brew is an elected councillor for Purley and Woodcote ward, and Croydon Council is paying him £6,747 per year of Council Tax-payers’ money to be the secretary of the Conservative group at the Town Hall.
That £6,747 stipend, paid out of public money, is on top of the £11,239 that is paid out to all Croydon’s elected councillors.
Brew’s role as Conservative group secretary is to book a room for meetings and send out the notice of meetings and the minutes of the previous meeting to his 28 Tory councillor colleagues. So a couple of word docs and an email, and he doesn’t even have to do that every month (they won’t be doing much work from the end of July to September, after all…).
Brew has been a councillor since 2014, but even though the Tory group leader, Tim Pollard, has fewer councillors to choose from to fill the various shadow cabinet and committee roles, the job of group secretary is the best that he could find for the Purley councillor.
Still, an extra £26,000 over four years to top up Brew’s IBM pension isn’t too bad for what is an undemanding party political post.
Of course, Pollard did have the option of declining to take public money for a party position, and in so doing claim the moral high ground. But he didn’t. That might be because a proportion of Brew’s, and other Tory councillors’, special allowances will eventually come back to the local party coffers.
Tony Newman’s Labour group gets a special responsibility allowance for their secretary, too: Pat Clouder tops up her £11,239 councillor allowance with a more generous £10,132 SRA. “But Pat does much more than simply book the meeting rooms and send out agendas,” one of the more obsequious Labour backbenchers told Inside Croydon, though they failed to expand on what onerous duties these might be.
Over the course of the four-year council term, from 2018 to 2022, it amounts to Croydon Council providing a combined subsidy to the borough’s political duopoly of £67,316.
Inside Croydon has had a look, but has yet to find any examples of other London boroughs paying out this political appointees’ allowance.
No wonder Newman and Pollard keep saying how “special” Croydon is…
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