Council bosses are splashing thousands of pounds on hiring “inspirational” speakers for senior staff – in the same week they consider massive budget cuts including scrapping free binbags and libraries.
Amid this week’s £70 million budget crisis, a private company is being contracted to run an American-style Values and Vision programme costing between £18,000 and £26,000, tender documents seen by the Citizen have revealed.
This is only slightly less than the sum Labour councillors plan to save by upping the cost of Blue Badges for the disabled by 500 per cent, from £2 to £10.
It would pay for hundreds of households to keep their free black rubbish sacks for a year and it would save a string of community groups from have their funding chopped.
Sadly it would not go far to compensate for the proposed cut in adult health and social services budgets – a whopping £3.31 million next year.
This week the council defended the spend on speakers as “cost effective” and “necessary to retain and grow talent internally”.
But opposition Tory councillors insist it is simply a waste of cash.
“At a time when the council is looking to make crippling cuts and even take people’s free binbags away, it is just crazy that they are spending money on recruiting an outside company to provide inspiration for staff,” said Councillor Peter Geary.
“You would think that with the amount of money senior management staff are paid they should be able to inspire themselves.”
Tories predict the “drop in the ocean” £150.000 saved by Labour’s binbag proposal will have repercussions even worse than the infamous ‘pink sack wars’ resulting from last year’s cull of recycling sacks.
“People will buy their own cheap black sacks from supermarkets and inevitably they will split and spill rubbish everywhere. This, of course, will lead to a huge problem with rats,” said Mr Geary.
“Or, they’ll cram the rubbish in pink sacks and it will cost five times more to sort the household waste from the recyclables. It’s a false economy.”