Westminster opposition councillor appeals to the Secretary of State for help.
By londononline | Friday, February 08, 2013, 14:36
The Leader of the Labour Group in Westminster, Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, has written to Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, to draw his attention to the fact that Westminster City Council is advertising for a new £125,000 a year Director of Communications at the same time as it is making £12 million of cuts to services to children and the elderly and axing its entire £350,000 a year Arts and Culture programme.
Councillor Dimoldenberg says that in the light of the publication '50 ways to save – Examples of sensible savings in local government' by the Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP, which was published in December 2012, that there is no justification for spending £125,000 of Council Tax payers' money on another expensive bureaucrat in a £3 million a year Communications Department with five employees earning between £61,000 and £90,000 p.a. The first section in this publication is "Share back office services" and number 23 is "Share senior staff". The Labour Group maintain that "at the very least Westminster Council should be able to save over £80,000 a year by sharing this post with its two neighbouring boroughs".
Why is Wesminster Council not proposing to share its Head of Communications post with the boroughs of Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham Councils, as it has shared other services with them? Westminster Council have engaged headhunters at a cost of 25,000 to find a candidate for this post. The '50 ways to save – Examples of sensible savings in local government' guide advises "Cut spending on head hunters and expensive adverts" (Number 29).
Is another "fat cat" at Westminster Council necessary? The Westminster Labour Group does not think so. They have asked The Secretary for State "to step in and tell the Council to stop wasting Council Tax payers' money on this unnecessary job".