A call to cut the number of bosses at Cotswold District Council has fallen on deaf ears.
Cllr Paul Hodgkinson, parliamentary candidate for the Cotswolds, made the suggestion at a council meeting last week. It followed the recommendation by Lord Heseltine for council bosses to be axed across the country in a bid to save money and make things simpler.
Heseltine, a former Cabinet Minister, is the Prime Minister’s adviser on economic growth and has promoted a series of ideas for making local councils more efficient:
“You have this extraordinary phenomenon in this country with a council leader earning around £30,000 a year and the chief executive of the same council earning about £180,000 a year.” He added that he was not supportive of pay rises but thought the two jobs could be combined.
Cllr Hodgkinson (CDC, Churn Valley) grilled the Leader of Cotswold District Council on the subject, asking him, “Do you agree that councils should scrap the role of chief executive and give council leaders new powers and responsibilities to run local authorities, thus saving the taxpayer a large amount of money every year?”
But the Tory Leader dismissed the idea, claiming that the Council had ‘excellent and professional leadership’. In reply the Lib Dem prospective MP challenged the way the Council had failed to protect the Cotswolds from unwanted housing developments:
“The Leader is deluded. How can he possibly claim that his leadership is excellent when his council hasn’t kept its Local Plan up to date and has persistently failed to deliver housing, according to a High Court judge. Residents are seething at this incompetence.”
After the meeting, Cllr Hodgkinson said he would continue to push the idea of cutting red tape:
“By getting a more effective management set up at the Council it will save taxpayers money and sort out the mess left by the lack of a Local Plan for housing.”