Cheshire East Council Leader Buys Support of Backbenchers With Sinecures

Cabinet Support Members / Deputy Cabinet Members


Cheshire East Council supports a number of cabinet support members; this is a remunerated role for which there is no proper job description. The Independent Review Panel, which advised on Councillors’ allowances, recommended removing special responsibility allowances for cabinet support members on the grounds that they had no responsibilities. The Conservatives rejected the recommendations of the independent panel and cabinet support members continued to be paid, with the promise that a new job description would be issued.


At the Council meeting on 14 May a motion to rename Cabinet Support Members as Deputy Cabinet Members and continue to pay a special responsibility allowance was challenged by opposition Councillors. Councillor Michael Jones accepted that the job description as written was not acceptable and suggested a 2 week moratorium to rewrite the job description. An amendment was voted down by the Conservatives that would have cancelled payments to Deputy Cabinet Members until the job description was re-written and agreed.



Labour Group Leader Cllr David Newton said, “The Deputy Cabinet Member job description could be summed up as ‘Actually you don’t need to do anything at all and you’ll get paid for it’. There are no specific responsibilities. I think a lot of people would like these jobs.”


Ken Edwards, Labour Councillor for Macclesfield Central, said, ' Once again Conservative incompetence was on display at the Annual Meeting of Cheshire East Council. Cabinet members have a large range of responsibilities and some of them undoubtedly need support. Instead of producing a job description which would allow Cabinet members to appoint deputies to share the work the Tories produced one that gave the Leader, Michael Jones, even more opportunity to increase his 'payroll parade' of bought support on the leaders list of handouts. This follows the creation of a whole raft of wholly owned companies with paid Directors. It was only at the Leader’s discretion the appointments would be made. The poor Cabinet member had no role in the process at all! The only redeeming feature was that the Leader acknowledged the fundamental principle of good Scrutiny and allowed a few opposition members as Vice chairman in the new Scrutiny Committees. They will need eyes in the back of their heads to keep up with what is going on in this Council.”

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