Council pay-offs cost Borders taxpayers £5m
Published: 10 Jul 2012 09:303 comments
PAYMENTS totalling more than £5 million were paid to Scottish Borders Council employees who were made redundant during 2011-12.
Figures released by the authority this week show 203 employees lost their jobs in the last financial year - including three compulsory redundancies.
Despite the size of the pay-outs - which saw two members of staff leave with severance packages worth more than £200,000 each - council officials say that the job losses will result in annual savings of £3.693 million in less than 18 months.
The report also states that former chief executive David Hume, who stood down last August after nine years, received £103,174 as 'compensation for loss of employment' when he took early retirement.
The document reveals Mr Hume received a pension lump sum of £136,392 and is entitled to an annual pension of £50,374.
The report highlights a slight increase in the number of staff taking home salaries of £50,000 a year or more - 109 in 2011-12 compared to 107 the previous year.
Senior councillors took home more than £350,000, with leader David Parker raking in £33,867.
In addition, pension contributions totalling £87,865 were paid to eight senior council officers, while a further £50,843 was paid into the pensions pots of the 12 most senior councillors.
The total bill for all elected councillors for 2011-12 - including salaries, allowances and expenses - came to £760,000, down £5,000 on the previous year.
The figures are contained in a remuneration report which the council has to make public as part of its annual accounts.
Commenting on the report, Robert Oxley, Campaign Manager of the TaxPayers' Alliance said: "Taxpayers will be astonished that so many council employees are still getting such a generous deal while everyone else in the public sector is facing a pay freeze.
"Scottish Borders Council needs to be careful that overly generous redundancy pay outs don't undermine the savings councils need to find.
"The authority's bosses must ensure they have the moral authority to lead necessary spending cuts, in many cases that will mean taking a pay cut themselves."
The remuneration report is contained within the unaudited statement of the council's accounts and can be viewed online at www.scotborders.gov.uk