THE GREENS have been accused of giving themselves a pay rise by sharing the top jobs on the council.

Chairmen and chairwomen of committees which oversee decisions on Brighton and Hove City Council are given special allowances for their roles.

The Green Group is sharing these key jobs – and the allowance – between two people after their takeover of the council in July.

Tories accuse the Green group of “breaking precedent” to give 18 of their 19 members a pay rise.

But the Greens have defended the decision, arguing that it makes the council more accessible for women.

Conservative councillor Robert Nemeth said: “It is concerning that the first act of the new Green administration was to reduce accountability, increase officer costs and produce more paperwork.

“This unorthodox way of working will be concerning to residents who wish to know where the buck stops.

“The inevitable mixed messaging will frustrate the democratic process at a time when we need certainty.

“It appears to be motivated by sharing allowances rather than doing what is best for the city”

Green councillors Pete West and Amy Heley are joint chairs on the environment, transport and sustainability committee. They will share the extra £9,752 allowance which comes with the role.

Councillors David Gibson and Siriol Hugh-Jones are joint chairs on the housing committee, sharing an extra £9,752 allowance.

Councillor Marianna Ebel and Steph Powell are joint chairs on the tourism, equalities, communities and culture committee, sharing a £9,752 allowance.

In light of this, the Tories have written to council chief executive Geoff Raw to get an examination on the democratic, financial and environmental implications of the joint chair role.

A spokeswoman for the group of Green councillors said: “Local councillors across the country are still too often not representative of the diverse communities they serve. The women’s equality organisation the Fawcett Society recommends job-shares as a way of making councils more accessible for women. Commemorating the 100 years of some women winning the right to vote in 2018, Green councillors pushed to have these findings enacted.”

In 2017, the Fawcett Society, which campaigns for women’s rights and gender equality, published a pamphlet making the case for a change to the law to allow two people to share the job of an MP.

It believes this change would help get more parents with children, carers, and more disabled people, into Parliament.

The Green spokeswoman added: “In line with our commitment to make the role of a councillor fit alongside other responsibilities, a number of Green councillors decided to share roles, on taking control of the council last week. These are just some of the many things we need to do to make sure that becoming a local councillor is something that anyone can consider. Greens remain committed to ensuring that our council is accessible to people from all communities.”