New TPA Research: Council Spending: Unnecessary Jobs

October 12, 2010 1:01 AM

Climate Change Officers, Political Advisors, Diversity Officers and European Officers cost taxpayers £41 million a year

Includes a full local council breakdown

The TaxPayers' Alliance today reveals new research on the cost of unnecessary staff at local councils. These non-frontline workers are doing jobs that could be cut, without putting frontline services at risk. Our report reveals for the first time a full list of how many Climate Change Officers, Political Advisors, Diversity Officers and European Officers are working at each council.

Click here to download the report

This is just a sample of four roles that we requested information about; the true cost of unnecessary jobs is much higher and represents a large sum of taxpayers' money that can be painlessly saved.

Key findings

  • Political Advisors, European Officers, Diversity Officers and Climate Change Officers cost £41 million in 2009-10.
  • 141 full time equivalent council employees worked as Political Advisors at a cost of nearly £5 million in 2009-10.
  • Nearly 183 full time equivalent council employees worked as European Officers at a cost of £6 million in 2009-10.
  • 543 full time equivalent council employees worked as Diversity Officers at a cost of nearly £20 million in 2009-10. 
  • 350 full time equivalent council employees worked as Climate Change Officers at a cost of over £10 million in 2009-10.
  • The UK council with the most staff in these positions is Birmingham, at a cost of over £2 million, which included the employment of 28 Diversity Officers who accounted for nearly all of the cost.
  • The council in Scotland with the most staff in these positions is Glasgow, at a cost of nearly £350,000.
  • The council in Wales with the most staff in these positions is Caerphilly, at a cost of nearly £450,000.
  • The council in Northern Ireland with the most staff in these positions is Belfast, where the cost was over £250,000 in 2009-10.

Chris Daniel, Policy Analyst at the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:

"Councils need to cut spending and start delivering value for money to hard-working taxpayers, but not all spending cuts affect frontline services. Many household budgets are under huge pressure and council tax has doubled in the last decade, but this money isn't necessarily going on the services households rely on most. Cutting down on staff doing unnecessary jobs is one way councils can save money without affecting those frontline services. These jobs are all the result of councils going too far in following the edicts of central government, instead of focussing on local priorities; or chasing grants that are, in the end, more than paid for by British taxpayers. Over time, we should move towards a situation where interference from Whitehall doesn't encourage this sort of waste. But right now councils can deliver better value for money by cutting these jobs."

Click here for the report

Notes to Editors

1) The TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA) is Britain's independent campaign for lower taxes and better services. It has 60,000 supporters across the UK, and was founded in 2004.
2) The full report can be found online here: http://www.taxpayersalliance.com/unnecessaryjobs.pdf
3) The full report includes a breakdown by local council.
4) Methodology: The report was compiled using responses from Freedom of Information requests submitted to every local council in the UK.

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