Left to right: Cllr Ciaran White, Cllr Damian White and Cllr John Crowder (Credit: Havering Council)
Councillor Damian White has made Cllr John Crowder and Cllr Ciaran White responsible for regeneration and community safety respectively.
He has been accused of using the positions to buy political support from his own party ahead of the local elections in May.
Havering’s Residents Association (HRA) has criticised Cllr White for spending the money on his fellow conservatives at a time when the council is facing a £13 million deficit.
Cllr White said the new positions would ensure the council can continue to deliver vital services that have been impacted by the Covid pandemic.
He explained the council has one of the smallest Cabinet teams in London and expanding it will ensure they “focus on the most difficult areas”.
“It includes our businesses, who have suffered greatly from the pandemic and public safety has also moved up the agenda and therefore the new post will wholly focus on this area helping to make it safer for residents by working with the Police and others,” said Cllr White.
“At the same time we have one of the biggest regeneration schemes in London, it is important then that there is a dedicated Cabinet member to help with the next important stages and work building new communities and homes for local people.”
Leader of the opposition, Cllr Ray Morgan, questioned why the new positions are needed now as the borough has been undertaking regeneration projects for years.
He said: “The Leader has been pushing the point that we face challenges and a budget deficit, yet he goes on to splash the cash on party colleagues.
“Why all of a sudden do we need two new cabinet members just four months before the local elections? I am sure the public would see this as yet another example of rewarding and buying support from party members.”
Cllr Gillian Ford, chair of HRA, has supported Cllr Morgan’s claims and described the decision as “crass”.
“We are just coming out of a pandemic, our residents have in some cases been to hell and back, losing employment, loved ones and seeing their weekly income reduce due to increasing costs,” she said.
“Why on earth, do we need to increase Cabinet positions? We need to be focusing on employing a skilled workforce that can deliver the services that our residents need and want.”
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