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Hackney Council's Tory chief set for £8,000 allowance increase as leader of sole opposition

PUBLISHED: 10:11 21 January 2019 | UPDATED: 19:19 22 January 2019

Cllr Simche Steinberger (on bike) and Cllr Michael Levy.

Cllr Simche Steinberger (on bike) and Cllr Michael Levy.

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The Tory party chief on Hackney Council is getting a pay rise as the leader of the sole opposition.

Springfield ward’s Cllr Michael Levy’s “special responsibility allowance” (SRA) is to go up from £12,709.67 to £21,182.79 following a review in September by the council’s independent advisor Sir Rodney Brooke .

The chair of London Councils Independent Remuneration Panel met opposition members Cllr Levy and his deputy Cllr Simche Steinberger last summer before advising the payment be increased.

The review was brought on by the collapse of the second opposition party the Liberal Democrats at last year’s council elections, meaning the £8,473.12 paid to party leader Cllr Ian Sharer was no more.

Mr Brooke wrote in his report: “In its 2018 report, the London-wide Independent Panel recommended the leader of the principal opposition group should receive an SRA of between £16,207 and £29,797. Given these comparators, I do not think that an SRA of £21,182.79 is inappropriate.

“The relatively small number of members of the opposition group can be argued to increase the workload of the leader in his important constitutional role of challenging the policies of the Mayor and the governing group.

“He can no longer rely on the smaller opposition group to shoulder some of that burden. Specifically Cllr Levy mentioned the casework required of him by residents who believe a council service or response to be inadequate and that they might get a more effective intervention from an opposition party.”

The decision will be voted on at the full council meeting on Wednesday.

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