Council’s top earners cost almost £1 million
NEW accounts have revealed Peterborough City Council paid out nearly £1 million in salaries for its seven top officers last year.
The council’s statement of accounts for 2009/10 released today shows £944,605 was spent on salaries and pension contributions for the officers.
The revelation comes as the council prepares to save £4 million in the next year, after the Government slashed its Area Based Grant by £3 million to £12 million.
In the past 18 months, the council has shed 400 jobs and, like other authorities, faces more funding cuts in Chancellor George Osborne’s emergency budget tomorrow.
However, city council leader, councillor Marco Cereste, defended the officers’ salaries.
He said: “What we pay is very much in line with other authorities.
“We get tremendous value for money from our directors, who work very hard. As a team they have performed fantastically.
“They have won nine local government awards.”
However, Cllr Cereste also insisted that in the face of Government cuts, even the senior officers will have their salaries up for review.
The city council needs to save £4 million this financial year, but this could rise depending on the national budget.
Cllr Cereste said: “Who knows how much it will be after Tuesday.
“Everything we do in the council, from salaries to libraries, everything has to be reviewed.
“One thing is for certain and that’s none of those officers will be getting pay rises and neither will the council’s cabinet members.”
The spending review is underway, but it will be weeks before the result is known.
However, Cllr Cereste said he hopes residents will not see a council tax increase.
He added: “It’s a £400 million budget in our organisation, so we can’t go line-byline in a few days.
“Our ambition is to not put our rates up to make up for the savings, so people can sleep easy about that.
“We might be forced down that slope, but we don’t anticipate doing it.”
Cllr Cereste also defended the city council’s use of consultants, which cost £12 million last year.
A review into the city council’s controversial use of the consultants is also currently taking place.
He said, despite the skilled top officers, consultants’ expertise was necessary.
He said: “These people