Talking West Cheshire

Top jobs axe saves taxpayers cash – says council finance chief

22 May 2012

moneyCheshire West and Chester Council’s decision to shed five top jobs has saved taxpayers over £400,000 a year.

The savings were revealed today (Tuesday) by Executive Member, Resources Councillor Les Ford replying to ‘misleading’ statistics published by the Tax Payers Alliance.

In a ‘Town Hall Rich List’ the Alliance claimed that 19 members of staff at the Council were paid £100,000, or more, a year.

In reality only 6 members of staff are paid that amount – the Chief Executive and five Directors.

Said Councillor Ford: “The figures published by the Alliance were salaries, plus pension payments required by the Funds External Actuary, reimbursement for subsistence and mileage, and in some cases car allowances.

“No officer of this authority has received a pay rise since 2008 unless they have changed jobs or been re-graded as a result of incurring additional responsibilities.”

The authority axed the post of Director of Area and Community and the Head’s of Democratic Services, Organisational Development, Neighbourhood and Customer Services and Planning.

But whilst the allocation of these additional responsibilities to other members of staff cost £30,000 in re-structuring payments, the changes resulted in a £425,000 saving for the authority.

Said councillor Ford: “Publication of salary figures – correct or incorrect – give a completely one sided and unbalanced picture of the situation.

“It does not reflect the fact that robust financial management of the authority’s affairs has saved £82 million gross and enabled us to reinvest £34 million in front line services.”

Added Councillor Ford: “And taxpayers in the Borough have seen their bills rise by a minimal average of 0.75 per cent in the life of the current council.”