THE new Labour administration has appointed seven more councillors to paid roles worth up to around £11,000 – but the Tory opposition has branded the move a "disgrace".

There are now seven cabinet members, each entitled to an annual allowance of £10,922, up from five, together with the leader and deputy leader who are each given £27,302 and £16,387 respectively to fulfill their duties.

Deputy cabinet roles also doubled with 10 Labour councillors now entitled to an additional £1,432 each.

These special responsibility allowances are paid in addition to the basic allowance of £8,708 which all councillors are entitled to.

A total of 24 out of 28 Labour councillors now receive special responsibility allowances, including four committee chairs and the deputy mayor.

Expanding the cabinet comes at a cost of £25,000 but those receiving special responsibility allowances have agreed to continue taking a voluntary pay cut of 10 per cent, which saves the council around £30,000 in allowances.

Newly-elected leader Eamonn O’Brien said the new expanded cabinet will allow the council to be more effective.

He said: “It’s my view that what we’ve seen is gradually more and more work put onto the executive and it’s progressed to a point where I believe there needs to be greater political governance and public accountability which is what we’re all elected here to do.

“Bury councillors still receive the lowest allowance in Greater Manchester. The average cabinet size across Greater Manchester is nine – which is what our new cabinet size would be.

“We may be the smallest borough in terms of population and geography, but I don’t think that’s the best way of determining how we should perform our executive functions because the scale of the challenges and the new ways of working, the complexity, the need for political governance and public accountability is actually the same regardless of the minor variations in geography and population.”

But opposition councillors grilled the new leader, calling for him to explain how the changes would benefit the borough beyond his “belief”.

Conservative councillor Sam Hurst branded the move as “disgraceful”.

Radcliffe First councillor Mike Smith asked whether any research or a cost-benefit analysis had been done to quantify the benefits these new positions.

He said: “The law of diminishing returns dictates that you can’t just throw labour at a problem and expect a high return just because you’ve got more members looking after a particular problem.”

Opposition leader, Cllr Nick Jones, said the council should not increase the size of the cabinet until there are “clear reasons” explaining why it is necessary.

He said: “We need some real evidence as to why a cabinet needs to expand, especially in the midst of a crisis.

“It’s quite clear that this has been done, in my personal view, with a view of elections next year, for the Labour Party to have one last hurrah of council allowances before potential losing control of the council next May.”

The expansion of the cabinet, including the creation of two new cabinet roles for cultural economy and transport and infrastructure, was approved.