Call to scrap jobs for fat cat bosses

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FAT cat bosses earning more than £100,000 a year at Milton Keynes Council could be forced to quit their jobs in order to save front line services.

Currently there are 81 senior managers, directors and assistant heads all on whopping Grade 12 salaries at the civic offices.

This week, in a last minute budget-blitzing move, city Liberal Democrats are demanding at least 20 of these posts be scrapped and the resulting £1.4 million saving be ploughed back into helping the community.

Lib Dem leader Councillor Sam Crooks said: “We cannot go on protecting our own procedures and ways of doing things when we are cutting back so stringently on front line services. We must reduce our own administrative expenditure.”

Last year, following millions of pounds worth of budget cuts, the council shrank by almost one-third through general cuts and natural wastage.

“We are technically two thirds of the size and yet we are still paying for the same amount of senior staff to be in charge. It does not make sense,” said Cllr Crooks.

He is confident the council could compensate for the loss of managers and directors by cutting back on bureaucracy and increasing its efficiency.

“Some of the reports produced for meetings are dozens of pages long, for example. We have to ask ourselves if we really need all that tiny detail. We have to ask every department if certain tasks are really necessary.”

Councillor Crooks believes more communication between departments and face to face talks between heads could also save reams of paperwork and weeks of work.

He says all money saved on salaries should be used to avoid many major service fee hikes already proposed in the 2012/13 budget, due to be agreed in five day’s time.

These would involve the public paying more for bus subsidies, community transport, crematorium charges, pest control and bulk waste collection.

Mr Crooks announced his budget amendment at Tuesday’s Cabinet.

It will be put to the vote at next week’s full council meeting..

If Labour councillors agree, the ruling Tories would be outvoted.

> Leader of the council, Councillor Andrew Geary called this a critical time in the city’s history.

The funding gap is £59 million which needs to be addressed over the next four years.

To help close this the council has proposed a number of recommendations despite a council tax freeze. As part of a raft of changes, £300,000 is set to be saved through changes to the car park regime with a further £350,000 to be raised by charging for bulky waste collections. Councillor Brian White said the plans are ‘so far, so good, but the proof of the pudding will be in the eating.’

Mr Geary said: “This budget is strong and we are confident we can deliver it. There is always risk but our plans are sustainable.”