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Councillors approve £6 million savings as staff awarded pay rise

PUBLISHED: 15:09 12 October 2016

Exterior Bexley Council offices

Exterior Bexley Council offices

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The council has to be self-sufficient by 2020

Council staff were awarded a pay rise on Tuesday as the council made plans for £6 million-worth of savings in the next five years.

Staff on the Bexley10 pay grade – which covers a wide range of posts, from junior to senior – had a one per cent pay rise approved for 2016-17 and a further one per cent for 2017-18.

Meanwhile, the council acknowledged that a rise in the projected budget gap would require additional savings to areas such as adult social care.

Faced with a government mandate that requires the borough to be self-sufficient by 2020, the council approved £6 million worth of savings to bring the gap to £11.8 million by 2022.

For example, cuts for looked after children up to 2021-22 have been approved for children’s services, while savings will also be made to prevention and pathways through adult social care.

The council has shifted towards an economic growth strategy for the borough, which will involve attracting investment as well as using income from business rates to raise funds.

Councillors also acknowledged that unforeseen events such as the Northumberland Heath disturbances could have an impact on budget reserves.

During the disturbances, every available police officer in the borough was dispatched to the scene.

Councillor Don Massey, cabinet member for finance and corporate services, defended the pay rise for staff, which does not apply to councillors.

“In context, the staff have all had a pay freeze, but we can’t go on not increasing pay,” he said.

“The councillors have not had any increase. We think our staff are working hard but councillors should stay where they are.”

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