New safety brief created for Islington Council’s executive - but sole opposition councillor criticises extra £31,000 allowance

Councillors Sue Lukes and Nurullah Turan. Picture: Islingon Council

Councillors Sue Lukes and Nurullah Turan. Picture: Islingon Council - Credit: Islingon Council

Two Labour councillors have taken on new roles on Islington Council’s executive.

Cllr Sue Lukes has been appointed to lead the newly-created portfolio for community safety, while Cllr Nurullah Turan is now executive member for health and social care.

They will both be paid an additional £31,762 executive member’s special responsibility allowance.

Cllr Lukes’ appointment was noted at the annual council meeting in September, after council leader Cllr Richard Watts created the role for her.

The Local Government Act 2000 designates the authority to appoint members to the executive to the leader, and stipulates “the number of members of a local authority executive may not exceed 10”.

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The council now has nine executive members, including the leader himself.

Cllr Caroline Russell of the Green Party, who is the only member of the opposition in Islington, criticised the extra cost to the council of the cabinet post at a time when council finances are stretched.

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She told the Gazette: “With the desperate squeeze on public sector finances, it’s a strange time for the Labour executive to be creating an additional full time paid role for another Labour councillor.”

The new portfolio encompasses responsibility for community safety and policing, public protection, hate crime, tackling domestic violence and abuse and supporting survivors, being a champion for victims of crime, and the coronavirus response.

Cllr Richard Watts insisted community safety “remains a big concern for residents”.

“We know local people want a safe, secure and welcoming borough, and we remain committed to doing everything we can to achieve that,” he said.

“This position includes co-ordinating our coronavirus response and during a global pandemic, this work is vital to keeping people safe.

“This just goes to show, yet again, that the Green Party is out of touch with the issues that matter most to local people.”

Cllr Lukes has been a councillor since 2018 and leaves positions of vice-chair of both the council’s housing scrutiny committee and audit committee.

Cllr Turan, a councillor since 2014, has left his post as chair of the council’s licensing regulatory committee to take on the health and social care brief after Cllr Janet Burgess stepped down.

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