Ashfield Labour hits out at ‘laughable’ £55k plan to fund new cabinet roles

Ashfield District Council.
Ashfield District Council.

Labour councillors in Ashfield have described plans to use £55,000 of council cash to fund new cabinet roles as a “bonus for the Independents”.

Councillor Lauren Mitchell and Coun Keir Morrison, Ashfield District Council Labour members for Hucknall south, have hit out at the Ashfield Independents-controlled council for plans to set aside the funds for “political structure changes”.

A decision is expected to be made at the first cabinet meeting of the new administration on Monday, June 24, on whether to allocate funds to introduce four new cabinet roles on the council.

This would be funded via “overspend” on the council’s general fund for 2018-19.

The councillors said: “When the Ashfield Independents took control of the council in 2018, they made a great self-congratulatory fuss of reducing the number of cabinet posts by one place.

“The saving of £9,000, we were told, was an example of how the new administration would be ‘value for money’.

“Despite boasting about reducing the cabinet members, it seems they now cannot cope without a cabinet of 10.

“For a party that claims to be for the people of Ashfield, this move is pretty laughable.

“This is a huge amount of money which should be being spent on the district, not on politicians, especially at a time when local councils are being so underfunded.”

Speaking following the decision to axe a cabinet position last year, Coun Jason Zadrozny, council leader, said: “Obviously it’s been a very busy few months for me as I’ve taken on the Cabinet roles that were held by the previous Leader and the Deputy Leader and that saves almost £9,000.

“I’m doing double the work, two for the price of one in effect.”

Councillor David Hennigan, new cabinet member for corporate communications said: “The cabinet is highly experienced and I’m certain they will bring value for money for our residents.

“We are working flat out, full time to make Ashfield a better place to live.

“The council will no longer be funded by the government next year - we’re embarking on an investment programme to extend what we did last year.

“That’s why we were able to freeze council tax and bring in initiatives like the Big Spring Clean.”