Updated: Sunday, 5th April 2020 @ 10:41am

'Years of wasteful spending': Manchester Liberal Democrats attack Labour over creation of new council job

'Years of wasteful spending': Manchester Liberal Democrats attack Labour over creation of new council job

By Mihaela Ivantcheva

Manchester Liberal Democrats are attacking Labour Council bosses over a decision to create what they claim is a ‘duplicate’ job.

The Lib Dems said that the £100,000 – £120,000 job for a City Council Director of Education and Skills was similar to the current position of the Director of Children’s Services and will be a ‘waste of money’.

Talking to Mancunian Matters, John Leech, MP for Manchester Withington said: “The Council says it has no money and thousands of lower paid staff have lost their jobs yet they can afford another council fat cat exec job.

“This job role appears to be a duplication of the Director of Children’s Services a post that already pays over £130k!

“Years of wasteful spending is something Manchester Labour perfected and this is just another example of them carrying on like nothing has changed and not practising what they preach.”

The Personnel Committee agreed to the new post and the decision will be reviewed at the full Council meeting in October.

Mike Livingstone is the current Director of Children’s Services and has been in the post since December 2010.

Despite Mr Leech's comments, MM can confirm that Mr Livingstone's salary, which is made public along with those of other senior managers at the council, is in fact £113,000.

Councillor Simon Wheale, leader of the Manchester Liberal Democrats, said that this post was created amid cuts to other council services.

Responding to the attack, Councillor Afzal Khan, Executive Member Children’s Services at Manchester City Council, said that the new post is funded from existing resources and will be part of a reorganisation of Children’s Services and the council’s senior management.

He said: “It is a gross misrepresentation of the position to say there will be a duplication of roles.

“Manchester’s biggest challenge is ensuring that the city’s population is skilled and ready to capitalise on the country’s economic recovery.

“Now more than ever we need to ensure young people get the education and skills they need to access the opportunities from our economic growth.

“The Director of Education and Skills will provide important support to the Council and complement the role of the Strategic Director of Children’s Services by having specific responsibility for further improving both the educational achievements and job skills of local young people, who are key to the city's future success,” he said.

In their attack, Lib Dems cited the Town Hall Rich List 2012, compiled by The TaxPayers’ Alliance, which says there were 28 City Council employees earning over £100,000 in 2010-11.

This places Manchester nationally in the top 10 councils with employees receiving remuneration of more than £100,000.

However, a Manchester City Council spokesperson told Mancunian Matters that just nine employees earn more than £100k.

“Indeed, our median salary for all Council staff is £22k.

“We are wholly transparent about what we pay our most senior employees, and publish those figures every year.

“In contrast, this survey gives a misleading impression about senior staff salaries at Manchester City Council,” a spokesperson said.

Last year Manchester City Council saw a significant reduction in its workforce as a result of the government’s financial settlement, which included a 40% reduction in manager positions.

The figures contained in the Town Hall Rich List 2012 include severance payments, which the council says might have inflated the overall salary packages.

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