Sheffield Council likened to North Korea

Sheffield Council leader Julie Dore, whose Labour group has agreed to cut allowances
Sheffield Council leader Julie Dore, whose Labour group has agreed to cut allowances
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Ruling Labour councillors have been accused of trying to turn Sheffield Council into a ‘one party state like North Korea’ - after slashing opposition parties’ allowances by more than their own.

Labour members voted to reduce special responsibility allowance budgets in 2013-14 for Liberal Democrats and Greens by £39,121.10 - a 68 per cent cut from last year.

Meanwhile, they cut £41,124.14 from their own allowances - a 17 per cent drop.

Shaffaq Mohammed, leader of the main Liberal Democrat opposition group, said it was an attempt to ‘silence the opposition’.

He said: “Labour want a one party state like China and North Korea. They are campaigning for a fair deal in London - they can’t give a fair deal in their own Town Hall.”

Coun Mohammed said he supported cutting allowances but that the cuts were ‘disproportionate’ and the proposals made without informing the opposition parties.

Labour councillors voted to approve the cuts recommended in a report by the Independent Remuneration Panel.

It means the total amount available for shadow cabinet members will be cut from £42,149.04 to £5,268.63 on top of their normal £11,000 allowance.

Allowances received by the council leader, deputy leader, cabinet members and chairs of scrutiny committees will all be frozen.

Sheffield Council leader Julie Dore said the council rejected all the allowance increases recommended in the report, including increasing her own pay.

She said the Lib Dems had the chance ‘to put a proposal forward but didn’t’.

She said: “We are only implementing the recommended reductions.”

But Green Party councillor Rob Murphy said: “I’m disgusted at the way this has been done. The more you cut down the opposition, the worse it will be for you.

“When you damage democracy, you damage everyone in this chamber.”