AHEAD of the start of a new civic year on Wednesday May 15, Sunderland Labour Group is proposing a raft of changes for the new year.

Sunderland Labour has heard loud and clear the messages from voters and have listened to them.

The first change being put forward at Wednesday’s Full Council meeting is to remove the meal that is provided to all councillors at the end of Full Council meetings.

Speaking of the proposed change, Sunderland Labour Group leader, Councillor Graeme Miller, said: “It is clear from talking to residents that the meal provided at the end of Full Council is a concern to some residents in the city.

“As a Labour Group, we fully understand that, we have listened to their concerns and therefore we are proposing that the meal after council will end.

“I hope all other political groups on the council will support this change, as it is responding directly to the wishes of local residents.

“Sunderland Labour will always listen and respond to the concerns of city residents.”

Other plans announced today by Sunderland Labour, include a proposal to bring forward a plan to cut the number of Special Responsibility Allowances (SRA) paid to councillors.

A Special Responsibility Allowance is the money that is paid to a councillor who takes on additional responsibilities, such as chairing committees or being a member of the council’s cabinet.

They are also paid to members of the two opposition political groups – Conservative and Liberal Democrats.

Commenting on the proposed changes, Sunderland Labour’s Deputy Leader, Councillor Michael Mordey said: “It was always the intention of Sunderland Labour to bring forward changes to allowances in this new civic year.

“As a group we understand the concerns of local people and fully intend to listen and respond to those valid concerns.

“Councillors do an excellent job representing their residents and our city, but we want to ensure that the city council tax payer is getting best value for the work their councillors do on their behalf.

“That is why we will be asking the Chief Executive to make arrangements to convene the Independent Remuneration Panel and will be making a submission to them on behalf of Sunderland Labour that we feel is a fair and balanced package of allowances moving forward.

“However, the underlying principle of our proposals will be that the number of allowances are reduced and every penny of the money that is saved will be invested in much needed frontline services.”

Sunderland Labour is absolutely committed to fighting for the residents of our city.  We will continue to do that every day.

We would like to thank everyone that supported Labour candidates at the recent elections.

We are truly humbled by your continuing support, that ensured that Labour finished the elections as the party that won more votes and more seats than any other party.

We are, however, equally committed to winning back the support of residents that chose this time to support another party.

We will work tirelessly to show the people of Sunderland that we are the only party that offers a real programme of policies and ideas that will see Sunderland, Washington, Houghton and Hetton drive forward and prosper as we enter a new decade.