Chiefs save £3.6m - at a cost of £1.8m

TOWN chiefs have agreed to save £3.6million and use the cash to improve council houses - but they have come under fire after it emerged half of the savings will be paid to consultants.

TOWN chiefs have agreed to save £3.6million and use the cash to improve council houses - but they have come under fire after it emerged half of the savings will be paid to consultants.

Ipswich Borough Council has announced it has agreed proposals to make the hefty efficiency cut backs.

However the move, which may mean up to 20 job losses, has been criticised from political opponents because half the savings - £1.8million - will be handed to consultants.

The council hopes that the three-year plan will see it achieve its goal of ensuring all its 8,000 council homes are brought up to the top-rated Ipswich Standard by 2014.

The council's executive committee this week approved a plan to employ consultants Kendrick Ash to deliver savings in the housing services area.

John Carnall, deputy leader of Ipswich Borough Council, said: "This is a radical plan to bring greater efficiency and value for money for the council tax-payer and that is the Ipswich way.

Most Read

“We believe Kendrick Ash can save £1.8 million over a three-year period and that will be cut from bureaucracy and put straight into frontline services.

“We want to see even better homes for our tenants and this is the best way of achieving this with no extra burden on the council tax-payer.

“The government takes £6 million per year out of the Housing Revenue Account, which is a tax on our council tenants, and we have to ensure value for money.”

Besides axing jobs, money will also be saved by purchasing goods and equipment at a cheaper rate and ensuring a quick turnaround on rented properties to keep as much money coming in as possible.

Labour group leader David Ellesmere criticised the move pointing to the fact that close to £2million will be paid to the consultants.

Mr Ellesmere said that a recent restructure of the council has left the authority lacking expert staff who would have been able to earmark similar savings in house at a fraction of the cost.

He said: “They are having to pay out large amounts of money to consultants to do the job basically because they have sacked too many people.

“There is still not a lot of detail in what they are proposing.

“There is a potential for reduction in services to council tenants but we are not being told exactly what they are.”

Are you concerned about savings at the council? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk