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Earlier today CCHQ released this press statement:

"Ken Livingstone and Labour politicians on the London Assembly look set to be given ‘golden goodbye’ payouts of up to £92,000 for losing office. Little-noticed provisions in new laws being introduced by Gordon Brown will introduce ‘severance payments’ for losing elections for the Greater London Authority.

Not only will taxpayers have to pay even more for the cost of City Hall, but Conservatives warned today that such cash perks now look set to be extended to local government across England – to compensate Labour for losing seats in local elections. Pay-outs of up to £20,000 have already been given out by the devolved Labour administrations in both Wales and Scotland to unpopular (typically Labour) local councillors.

  • Livingstone to get up to £92,000 pay-off: The Greater London Authority Act 2007 introduces new ‘golden goodbyes’ for ceasing to hold office as London Mayor and for the London Assembly. Labour Ministers stated in answers to Parliamentary Questions this week that they expect all the provisions of the Act to be implemented before the 1st May elections. Ken Livingstone is currently paid £137,579 a year, and could receive up to £91,719 for losing office after serving eight years.  Labour’s London Assembly Members also could also receive five-figure pay outs for losing their seats.
  • Cash payouts for losing elections spreading across local government: Last month, a Labour-dominated ‘Councillors Commission’ report recommended to Ministers that councillors across England should also receive golden goodbyes if they “lose office through the action of the electorate”. Cash handouts of up to £20,000 were dished out to councillors by the Labour-run Scottish Executive in last year’s Scottish local elections, and by the Labour-run Welsh Executive in the 2003 Welsh local elections.
  • Council tax payers to foot the bill: The cost of the London pay-outs will be met from the Greater London Authority’s budget, funded by council tax. Ken Livingstone’s levy on London council tax bills has almost tripled under his administration, rising from £123 on Band D in 2000-01 to £304 in 2007-08. Such payouts for town hall councillors would similarly be met by hard-pressed council tax payers.

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Eric Pickles MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Local Government, said:

“Local residents will be outraged at cash being stuffed in the pockets of electorally-challenged Labour politicians, and Labour’s unpopularity in the polls being rewarded with taxpayers’ hard-earned money.
 
"Ken Livingstone’s levy on London’s council tax bills has already tripled since his vast empire was created, and now local taxpayers are going to have to pay yet more.”"

Related link: Labour councillors seek higher pay, more perks and better pensions

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