The number of senior Council staff earning in excess of £50,000 a year has gone up in Bath and North East Somerset, despite the authority making sweeping cuts to public services.
The number of staff on salaries above £53,000 a year has increased from 58 to 60 in the two years since the Liberal Democrats took over the running of the Council with the support of Labour councillors.
The shock figures, uncovered by Conservative councillors, have led to accusations that the authority is prioritising the protection of top-paid staff over public services. Conservatives have said that at a time of spending restraint, the Council should be doing all it can to increase efficiency and productivity rather than making deep cuts to services.
The increase in the number of highly-paid staff comes at the same time as the Council is planning to close half its public toilets, cut the area’s mobile library service, reduce financial support for local bus services, slash funding to Children’s Centres, cease most pest control services, increase fees for garden waste collections and introduce charges at the Victoria Art Gallery.
Before the last set of local elections in 2011, Conservative councillors released plans which would have seen the authority reduce its number of senior managers by around a third.
Conservative shadow spokesman for Community Resources, Cllr Charles Gerrish, commented:
“These astonishing figures reveal that the Liberal Democrats have wasted the past two years, which should have been spent making the Council a more lean and efficient organisation. It’s astounding to see that at the same time the Council is making deep cuts to many local services, there has actually been an increase in the number of highly-paid managers and senior staff.
“If the Council had stuck to our plan of reducing the number of managers by around 30% then it could be saving in excess of £1 million a year. That’s a million pounds extra which could have been put into protecting front-line services.
“The Council should be doing whatever it can to drive out efficiencies and increase productivity, but instead the Liberal Democrats are choosing the easier route of cuts to local services.”