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 Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Uk&world Update - By NICK REINIS

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

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