Some councillors claim allowances under ‘false pretences’, says Redbridge leader during low attendance attack

A proposal to cut councillors’ allowances by 10 per cent was described as “divisive” and “distasteful” during a heated debate, as a light was shone on members who claim money under “false pretences”.

Independent Cllr Ali Hai’s motion was rejected unanimously by his peers at a full council meeting on Thursday in Redbridge Town Hall, High Road, Ilford.

The former Labour councillor said a cut in allowances would show residents it was willing to “share” in the cuts being made.

But Labour group leader Cllr Jas Athwal said he was “making policy on the hoof”.

He added: “This is a very divisive motion to try to get the public to move further away from politics.

“You need to recognise some people are not as affluent as others.”

It was also said that records online show Cllr Hai has attended 58 per cent of meetings in the last six months.

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Council leader Cllr Keith Prince said that was “appalling and disingenuous”.

He added: “There are other members who, let’s say, claim their allowances under false pretences by not attending meetings.

“If these people were genuine, they would say, ‘I’m not attending X out of Y meetings, I will give back my allowance for those meetings’.

“It’s distasteful to say we need to take the pain. I am. We are residents of this borough.”