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'A brazen waste of money' - County Hall slammed for creating new £40K role while cutting services

PUBLISHED: 08:03 08 August 2019 | UPDATED: 11:12 08 August 2019

Labour group leader Steve Morphew and Liberal Democrat group leader Ed Maxfield. Pictures: Archant

Labour group leader Steve Morphew and Liberal Democrat group leader Ed Maxfield. Pictures: Archant

Archant

A new role at County Hall - complete with a near £40,000 salary - has been slammed as a "brazen waste of money".

Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council. Pic: Norfolk County Council.Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

Norfolk County Council is advertising for a 'leader's office business manager' - a new vacancy created in the wake of its change to a cabinet system of governance.

The successful candidate will work closely with council leader Andrew Proctor and his cabinet, potentially earning up to £39,780 a year in the process.

However, once national insurance and pension contributions are made this is likely to cost the council closer to £50,000 overall.

The new role has been heavily criticised by opposition leaders, who have questioned why a highly-paid position is being created in a financial straining time.

Steve Morphew, Labour group leader, said: "This money could pay for a social worker, a firefighter, a librarian, a children's centre practitioner or to support services.

"This is a brazen waste of money on an unnecessary job that, like the allowance hikes Norfolk Tory councillors take while imposing cuts on others, prioritised their self interest about the people of Norfolk again.

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"Chucking £50,000 at a job to make life easier for council leaders will convince nobody that they [the Conservative group] really care."

Liberal Democrat leader Ed Maxfield, added: ""After the elections two years ago we were told we had to finalise £200m of cuts from the county council budget.

"People left struggling after cuts to support for disabled people will - rightly - not understand why the council is creating new jobs paying £40,000 a year to support politicians.

"We need to get County Hall back into the real world."

The successful candidate's responsibilities will include helping to manage budgets, keeping senior councillors up to date with national developments and preparing reports, however a County Hall spokesman said the position is entirely apolitical, so would not involve writing any political material such as manifestos.

Mr Proctor was unavailable to comment, but a council spokesman said: "With the move to an executive leader and cabinet system and the extra demands that places on the leader and cabinet members, we have identified the need for a new role.

"This role will help to co-ordinate the important work of the offices they hold and play a key role in developing policy and strategy as part of delivering the aspirations of the 'Together for Norfolk' business plan.

"The cost will be more than offset by the savings and efficiencies which our new leadership system has delivered across the council."

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