Luton council split over adviser roles

A row has broken out at Luton Borough Council over the creation of authority-funded, politically-affiliated special advisers.

The Labour opposition group, mirroring national party attempts to counter ccusations of ‘spin’, has attacked plans to appoint the advisers, which the Liberal Democrat-run council announced last week.

The Labour group is concerned that the advisers will be involved in media presentation work and in protest has pledged not to take up its allocated post.

A post paying £25,000-a-year has been allocated to both the Liberal Democrat group and the Labour group, while the Conservative group will get a part-time position paying around £14,000. The Conservative group has backed the creation of the three roles.

Luton council has yet to finalise the job descriptions of each post, but a spokeswoman for the council said the advisers would work on research projects and political group policy and would liaise with community groups.

She would not rule out the advisers’ role in policy presentation to the media and said that the descriptions were open to change.

‘There is nothing in the current job descriptions that says categorically that these people will not be advising on policy presentation, but there is also nothing to say that they will be,’ she said.

The council will be advertising the new positions later this year and hopes to make the appointments before the new year.

Labour lost overall control of the council in last May’s council elections, after running the authority for 16 years.

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