SNP Gaming The System - What Next?

I've had lots of comments on my blog posts about the SNP gaming the system over councillor salaries in Glasgow:

Why do we allow this......?

Why don't Police Scotland investigate the practice, as it sounds fraudulent?

This blog should have 1000s of retweets

Perhaps we should all contact the Audit Office

Tammany Hall

Gravy Train in operation

This needs to be INVESTIGATED

Money goes to money, bloody chancers the lot of them and they have the brass necks to talk about child poverty etc

Not another SNP scandal - surely?


More plundering of our tax money

I suspect that there are those in other Councils also having a dabble in this highly distasteful practice

The police need to be brought in

I want an investigation.......right now!!

I suspect the best way to get to the bottom of what's going on is for the press to become involved - because I'll eat my hat if this SNP practice is prevalent only in Glasgow.

Individuals can play a big part too - by emailing their local MSPs/MPs and asking them to explain how it can be a proper use of public money to employ an SNP councillor in their parliamentary office, if they are already committed to a full-time council position.

Depending on the commitment required to work in an MSP's or MP's office this could also be an issue for backbench councillors as well.

For my part, as well as sharing information on my blog, I think I'll drop the Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, a note because JS switched off the Glasgow 'top ups' last time around - while acting as Finance Minister in 2011.


SNP - Gaming The System (September 27, 2021)

Mhairi Hunter and Jennifer Layden are both senior councillors in Glasgow whose roles are regarded as a full-time commitment because of their additional responsibilities over a backbench councillor who is paid at two-thirds of the full time rate.

The full-time rate can vary depending on the nature of the role and according to Glasgow's Register of Interests Jennifer is paid a salary of £35,000 while Mhairi receives £26,000 - around £15 and £20 an hour respectively.

Yet both SNP councillors have other paid jobs - Jennifer works in Humza Yousaf's office having previously enjoyed a similar role in Margaret Ferrier; while Mhairi has a role in none other than Nicola Sturgeon's office and a separate paid commitment as a member of Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board. 

Now I have no problem with councillors being properly remunerated - I was a member of the independent (SLARC) committee which recommended a new salary structure for elected councillors in Scotland in 2006.

Yet the SLARC regime is now being abused because no one has been scrutinising the system since the former SNP finance minister, Derek Mackay - who resigned in disgrace of course, decided that independent oversight was no longer necessary and that the SLARC committee should be disbanded.

The upshot is that we have large sums of public money being used to pay Glasgow councillors decent salaries to perform a wide range of part-time and full-time jobs - yet these salaries are also being topped up by SNP MSPs and MPs by employing councillors in their offices.     

In effect, the system is being 'gamed' when the public interest demands independent scrutiny, openness and transparency.



Glasgow - More Senior Councillor Salaries (May 06, 2021)

Cllr Mhairi Hunter is another senior councillor in Glasgow with a full-time role as Convener for Health and Social Care Integration for which she's entitled to a salary of @ £26,000 plus expenses.

The salary details are not explained in the Council's Register of Interests, but there are three additional entries declared under Remuneration as follows:

1) Part-time constituency assistant to Nicola Sturgeon MSP

2) Co-Chair Glasgow City Integration Joint Board

3) Board Member Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board

Now I don't know what Nicola Sturgeon's assistants are paid, nor do I know the salary details of the Co-Chair of Glasgow's Integration Joint Board, but the last time I looked Members of GGCHB received a salary of @ £10,000 a year.

I suspect these additional jobs, in this case, are likely to  amount to an overall package worth around £50,000 a year, perhaps more.

On this evidence senior councillors in Glasgow are are pretty high earners and hold down more than one job even though their council salary is calculated on the basis of being a full-time commitment.

I'll be interested to see how other backbench and senior councillor salaries in Glasgow pan out, but since the SNP got rid of SLARC (the independent oversight committee on councillor salaries) no one is keeping a watchful eye on what is going on.


SNP, 'Double Dipping' and Public Money (14/04/21)

Humza Yousaf has featured on the blog recently over his antics on social media, which reminds me I must chase up the Scottish Government as I've not had a response to my Stage 2 complaint.

Anyway, the link between the justice secretary and Glasgow councillor Jennifer Layden is that she works as a part-time caseworker in Humza's constituency office, having done so previously for the SNP's Margaret Ferrier. 

Here's what Jennifer Layden's entry in the Council's register of Interest says:

"City Convenor"
"Part time caseworker for Margaret Ferrier MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, January until October 2020"
Part-time caseworker at the office of Humza Yousaf MSP, December 2020

What's odd about this is that Jennifer Layden is a 'senior councillor' with Glasgow City Council which means she receives a 'full-time' salary worth around £35,000, if I remember correctly.

So how can Cllr Layden be doing a full-time job on a public salary, yet still find the time to do another part-time job with the Justice Secretary?

I think we should be told because this looks very much like 'double dipping' at the taxpayers' expense. 


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