Taxpayers pay £97,000 for one council job cut

PUBLISHED: 07:59 11 May 2006 | UPDATED: 09:15 24 May 2010

NORTH Somerset Council has only axed one employee at a cost of £97,000 - despite claiming 42 posts needed to be scrapped to meet its budget five months

NORTH Somerset Council has only axed one employee at a cost of £97,000 - despite claiming 42 posts needed to be scrapped to meet its budget five months ago.The Liberal Democrat controlled Executive said the jobs were under threat during the debate to set this year's council tax levels.Executive members argued the cuts were necessary to reduce the budget by £8.6 million and ensure council tax did not increase by more than five per cent in 2006/7.But only one worker has been made redundant so far. It cost the council £15,000 in redundancy fees and £82,000 in pension top-ups.The Executive says only 20 posts may now be lost because savings have been made elsewhere.Conservative councillors are calling for a re-think to ensure tax payers are not landed with a huge bill due to high redundancy costs.Councillor Mike Roe, leader of the Conservative group, said: "It's an absolute scandal and we've all been misled. The figure of 42 jobs under threat has not turned out to be the truth."We have a real concern that taxes are going to go up because we're told another 20 posts are under review. If these are going to have a similar price tag then the cost on the tax payer is going to be huge. It doesn't seem to me to be the most effective way to do it."Executive member for finance, Councillor Mike Bell, said redundancies are a last option.He said: "The objective is not to make people redundant, but to save money."We've made financial savings elsewhere and plan to make further cuts by not filling non-essential vacant posts, and putting people in other posts. This will minimise further redundancy fees."We're confident this will lead to £900,000 worth of savings, which can be delivered.

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