£34,000 aide for Mayor sparks anger

Ros Jones.  Picture: Andrew Roe
Ros Jones. Picture: Andrew Roe

Cash-strapped Doncaster Council has been criticised for advertising a £34,000 a year job for a political assistant to the Mayor despite having to make savings of £105 million.

The job is advertised at £28,790 to £34,022 for three days a week on Doncaster Council’s website although a spokesman said the salary would be pro rata.

The news comes after more jobs are expected to be shed at the authority, which has already closed two libraries, a children’s centre and axed hundreds of roles.

Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: “When budgets are tight and the council needs to be keeping costs under control, Doncaster residents will be shocked that they are expected to pay for a political assistant for the Mayor.

“Why should local residents be footing the bills for a professional political adviser when they have elected the Mayor to get on with running things?

“This is an unnecessary position, proven by the fact that many local authorities operate perfectly well without one.”

The council has already made £93m of cuts in the last three years and needs to cut a further £105m from its budget between April 2014 and March 2017.

Mayor Ros Jones, said: “Despite these challenges we still need to drive economic growth, create jobs and protect vital services.

“In order to make the right decisions for residents and businesses the support of a political assistant and a strong cabinet is crucial to our success.”

Cuts at the council

■ The council expected more than 300 jobs to be shed in the 2013-14 financial year.

■ A total of 1,165 posts have gone at the authority since 2010.

■ The council expects to reduce its spending by £39m in 2014-15, £34m in 2015/16 and £32m in 2016/17.

■ The special responsibility allowances for the Deputy Mayor and cabinet members, together with the salary of this part-time political assistant are funded through an agreed £159,000 cabinet budget.