Council leader hits back at Tory claim of £11 million consultant bill

COUNCIL leader John Kent has denied claims by the Tories that they have spent £11 million on temporary staff and consultants.

The denial comes after the Tories looked at the spend on staff in the council offices in New Road, Grays.

Tory councillor Barry Johnson said: “Over the past few years Labour have been complaining that their isn’t enough money to spend on front line staff and have been cutting staff ever since.

“However, using the figures from payments to suppliers, we have found out that Thurrock has spent £7.3 million on non permanent staff and £3.7 on consultant fees. This is up by £1.6 million on last years bill and begs the question are these extra staff being brought in to cover those being shared with Barking and Dagenham?”

Leader John Kent said specialists were brought in for a number of key projects that cost £2.6m, not £3.7m such as the Gloriana social housing project, the Purfleet regeneration project and school building programmes.

He added: “We did, however, have to spend more than we would have liked on agency staff.

“Much of this is down to the difficulty we face – as do most councils – in recruiting staff in areas such as social care where, frankly, we have no alternative but to hire good quality agency staff to make sure the most vulnerable are properly protected.”

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