THE article 'Council 15 earn at least £100,000 a year', Guardian, August 13, could lead to misinterpretation of both this authority’s attitude and excellent performance in relation to its financial affairs.
In fact, Cheshire West and Chester Council lead the country’s response to the stringent demands for efficiency and innovation facing its local authorities.
Since 2009, a complete restructuring of CWAC has resulted in a 50 per cent reduction in its full-time workforce to 3,500 and savings exceeding £133m. It is projected that in the first eight years of its life, this council will have produced an annual saving of £180m in costs to the council tax payer.
CWAC is also undergoing a significant restructure of senior management, saving a further £1m a year. This will involve a reduction of heads of service and a new leaner directorate structure with the loss of two director’s posts.
The authority has already introduced plans to cover a £49m reduction in central grant over the next three years, but still faces a budget shortfall of £6m.
However, despite an extremely difficult financial climate over the past four years, taxpayers will have paid an average of just 1.65 per cent rise in council tax against a 12.1 per cent rise in inflation giving a saving of £131 on a Band D bill.
The figures published by the Taxpayers’ Alliance for 2012/13 do not reflect salaries alone, but also pension contributions and special payments, including those for redundancy.
Finally, despite budget pressures, this authority is investing millions of pounds in Mid Cheshire.
In Northwich, the level of investment is unprecedented. Regeneration includes ongoing work to improve the area’s rail links with Manchester, resolve planning issues around housing growth and support investment in jobs.
Clr Eveleigh Moore Dutton Executive member for resources