£50 million Fife Council pay-offs
Sir, – Councillor Tim Brett is correct in highlighting that Fife Council has paid an average of £31,780 to the 1,555 staff made redundant over the last seven years (“Council spends £50m in just seven years on severance payments”, The Courier, February 10).
What your report didn’t mention was the huge variations between individuals. Some got nothing, while a few got sums more than 10 times the average.
There’s nothing underhand here. There’s a formula and the numbers are reported to councillors (but not to the public).
As the council’s human resource service manager said, not all the money goes into the hand of the departee, but the bit that doesn’t goes boosting their pension.
Many take the pension top-up rather than extra cash in hand, presumably because they’ve worked out which is the better deal.
The formula is based on a maximum payback period of three years, so the value of the package shouldn’t exceed three times the cost of employment (salary, employer’s NI etc).
However, there’s a quirk whereby someone leaving alongside a colleague who qualifies for little or nothing can get part of that colleague’s three years’ worth.
Some parts of the payout formula are set in law but the rest is at the council’s discretion.
While all parties believe that Fife Council should be a good employer, the Conservatives have twice proposed capping the largest pay-outs.
We’ve suggested an overall limit of £100,000 per departee but all the other parties, including Mr Brett’s, voted for the status quo.
Most of the £50m went to folk on modest salaries with modest pension prospects.
No one suggests that that should change, but even a reduction from £50m to £49m would have released £1,000,000 for public services facing yet another round of cuts. Cllr Dave Dempsey. Leader, Fife Council Conservatives, 7 Carlingnose Park, North Queensferry.
Our school alone saves the state £8 million per year by educating 1000 children outwith the state. Our taxpaying parents pay school fees out of their alreadytaxed income. This pays for children in state schools, not their own