Opposition councillors are seeing red about Labour “slipping in” a hefty payment to a TRADE UNION at the eleventh hour of budget negotiations.
They say it is abhorrent that tens of thousands of people will be paying more council tax while the GMB receives £15,000 from the cash-strapped budget.
Sources claim it is a “you scratch my back and we’ll scratch yours” arrangement because MK Labour party receives regular donations from the union.
Nationally GMB pays substantial donations every year to the Labour party.
One source said: “Effectively it seems Labour are taking cash from the people of Milton Keynes to give to a trade union, only to receive it back in donations. That is simply unfair.
“How can it be right that Milton Keynes council tax money is used to fund a trade union?”
Opposition councillors say the union payment was not in the original budget but was slipped in to the amended papers by Labour.
Councillor Pete Marland, the Labour leader of the council, denied there was anything underhand and said opposition party leaders were consulted about the payment.
He told the Citizen: “After the budget changes over the past week there are now £775,000 worth of savings through staff changes and redundancies.
“The money to GMB will pay for extra union time and facilities so staff can be given advice about these changes and issues.”
Mr Marland said the £15,000 paid for one extra half a post of trade union time and was a much- needed facility.
“We have not slipped it into the budget. There is nothing secret about it, It is a sensible thing for us to do for staff.
“It simply represents good value for money.”