Council hits back at inflated salaries slur

ANGUS Council has hit back at an item published last week that accused them of inflated wage bills.

It suggested that the council was continuing to spend a disproportionate amount of money on salaries, while at the same time promising to reduce spending.

The piece indicated that over the last five years Angus Council wages had increased by nearly £20 million despite being in the middle of the worst recession in recent memory.

A spokesperson for Angus Council noted that the article did not make clear the distinction between historic spending, which these figures represented, and therefore took place before the current economic downturn.

Present and future spending for Angus Council relates to the need for reduction in expenditure and the stream-lining of departments.

As Angus Council leader Councillor Bob Myles explained: “Angus Council, which employs  around 5,500 staff, plans to deliver savings of £23m over the next four years, and the projected reduction of 500 staff posts will contribute to this. We have already reduced the staffing levels by 155 staff,  between 2009/10 and 2010/11.

“In recognition of the current financial climate, no employee received an annual  pay award in 2011 and it is anticipated that this will be replicated in 2012.

“Dealing historically with the five year period between 2005/06 and 2009/10, there was an increase to Angus Council of £20m in staff costs, however, this must be viewed in a context of Angus Council being the largest employer in the county and this increase is not significant in percentage terms. 

“This was prior to the country facing the very difficult financial climate  which began in late 2009. “The greatest part of the increase in Angus Council staff costs in the five year period between 2005-10 was as a result of the application of annual nationally negotiated pay awards and the honouring of salary increments to those employees who are on incremental salary scales, and who are contractually entitled to receive such increments.

“This £20m additional spend broadly comprised: £13.5m - nationally negotiated pay awards for all staff including teachers; £4.3m - contractual pay increments for all staff including teachers; £1m - growth in overall staff numbers by 38 posts.

“The balance of £1.2m in the main relates to increases in pension and national insurance contribution levels.”