Rishi Sunak slams Westminster Council over ‘eyewatering’ pay hike for cabinet members

Street cleaning vehicle outside the gates of Parliament  (Westminster Council)
Street cleaning vehicle outside the gates of Parliament (Westminster Council)

The Prime Minister has slammed Westminster Council for giving its cabinet members an "eyewatering" 45 per cent pay rise while increasing social rents for the poorest residents.

During PMQs on Wednesday, Rishi Sunak said it was "disappointing" that the Labour-run authority hiked fees for council tenants by seven per cent while upping pay for councillors by up to £5,275.

Six senior cabinet member saw their wage increase from £11,733 to £17,008 - 10 times the amount that the council's employees will receive.

Labour won control of the town hall for the first time during the local elections last May.

In response to a question from Cities of London and Westminster MP Nickie Aiken, Mr Sunak: "The now Labour-run Westminster Council has put its own councillor's pay ahead of everything else.

"A staggering, eyewatering 45 per cent pay increase when people across our country, and indeed abroad, are suffering cost of living pressures. It's clear that it's only Conservative-run councils that deliver for their residents."

However Westminster hit back saying its councillors had been paid significantly lower allowances than other areas.

The borough also has the lowest council tax in the country, with the average household paying £912 a year.

It froze its portion of the tax this year and added just two per cent to pay for social care.

In its budget, councillors also vowed to invest £167m in temporary accommodation and provide children aged between three and 14 with school lunches in an expansion of its free school meals programme.

A Westminster City Council spokesman added: “The update is based on recommendations from an independent panel set up by London Councils, so is based on practice across the capital. The reality is that most senior roles were substantially below what London Councils’ independent advisers suggested.

“The leader of Westminster City Council and his Cabinet are responsible for an authority at the heart of the capital with unique pressures and demands. Their allowances remain moderate and proportionate to the extremely demanding jobs they do for the council."