Council ‘savings’ not quite what they seem

I was pleased to see that by prudent restructuring, West Sussex County Council has reduced senior management costs by almost £1m.

Good work, until you add up the payments made to the ‘unfortunates’ who have lost their jobs.

A quick trawl through the published figures with a calculator indicates it has cost the council almost £2m to get into the position of saving £900,000.

A further two years, then, before there is any benefit from this fiasco.

There are a number of questions which should be asked about the way our public money is being spent (particularly in a period of restraint and austerity) and why ‘executives’ on inflated salaries should get such generous severance deals.

Surely the highly-paid are the ones who are least in need of the council’s largesse?

Presumably they are highly skilled and qualified and perfectly capable of finding jobs elsewhere.

Why these eye-watering payments in lieu of notice?

For most people, redundancy means the statutory minimum pay-off and working out their period of notice.

Why didn’t the council require these employees to do the same, particularly as they ‘volunteered’ for redundancy?

These fat cats seem to have been given six months’ salary for doing nothing, and compensation for loss of employment.

The figures are staggering!

I have lost track of the number of times I have heard the mantra ‘value for money’ being used in the council’s name, and to see the annual salary of several low-paid workers just given away for nothing in return is a scandal.

People lose their jobs all the time; it’s a fact of life.

So why should more public money be given to the highly paid when they volunteer for redundancy?

If the council’s defence is it is in their contracts, then perhaps these absurd contracts should be re-written.

When ordinary people see services being cut; when councils claim they are tightening their belts and making savings; when workers are being asked to do more and lose their contractual pension rights, how long before this blatant inequality leads to direct action such as we are currently seeing in Southampton?

Alan Carn

Whyke Road, Chichester