Sadiq Khan defends salary increase

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Sadiq Khan defends salary increase
Image credit Unsplash

Sadiq Khan has defended a recent increase to his salary by saying it was decided in line with independent recommendations.

It emerged on Friday that the London mayor’s salary has increased by just over £6,000 to £160,976, while at least eight of his nine deputy mayors, his chief of staff, deputy chief of staff, and three mayoral directors have also received large pay hikes.

Asked whether he was comfortable with the pay increase at a time of hardship for many Londoners, the mayor said on Friday: “My understanding is these are decisions recommended by independent bodies, and it affects all of the GLA [Greater London Authority].

“As always, we follow all of the independent recommendations.”

Mr Khan’s annual pay rise was not linked to him being re-elected for a third term last Saturday. His salary increased by 3.88 per cent in December, taking it from £154,963 to £160,976 – though this was not publicised at the time, nor was the mayoral salary figure that is published on the GLA website updated.

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According to the GLA website, pay increases for elected members are set within an agreed framework, following a review by the independent Review Body on Senior Salaries.

Mr Khan voluntarily took a 10 per cent pay cut for 11 months during the pandemic in recognition of the impact lockdown was having on City Hall’s finances.

Last month, a GLA-wide 4.5 per cent pay rise saw most deputy mayor salaries increase by more than £6,000, from £141,406 to £147,769.

A GLA spokesman said this rise was accepted by Unison on behalf of GLA staff after being offered by Mary Harpley, the GLA’s chief officer. Mr Khan approved the same increase for his deputy mayors.

A separate HR review found that Mr Khan’s three mayoral directors merited a salary equal to the deputy mayors. They now each earn £147,769.

Mr Khan is reducing the number of deputy mayors from 10 to nine in his third term as the deputy mayor for fire post is being merged with planning and regeneration, with Jules Pipe in charge of all three areas.

Baroness Twycross, who was the deputy mayor for fire, is also standing down to focus on her work in the House of Lords.

Amy Lame, the Night Czar who has faced criticism from the hospitality industry, now receives a salary of £132,846. Her last publicly-available salary figure was £116,925. Ms Lame is not a direct “mayoral appointee” — the Mayor can make up to 13 “political” appointments — but is classed as a GLA member of staff.

Joanne McCartney, a Labour assembly member, remains Mr Khan’s “statutory” deputy mayor — meaning that she takes over if he is incapacitated.

David Bellamy, the mayor’s chief of staff, saw his pay increase from £149,213 to £155,927. Richard Watts, the deputy chief of staff, saw his salary rise from £145,310 to £151,848.

A search is meanwhile under way for a new deputy mayor for the environment to replace Shirley Rodrigues, who is joining the C40 group of world cities committed to tackling climate change.

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