Tyne & Wear

Northumberland council paid consultant to 'save money'

Council bosses in Northumberland have defended paying an expert £1,100 a day to come up with ways of saving money.

The consultant, hired through Gatenby Sanderson, has been with the authority since January.

Northumberland County Council, which needs to make an estimated £56m of savings, said it was paying the going rate, and the move was cost effective.

However, one councillor described it as "ridiculous" and a "bitter pill for a lot of staff to swallow".

'Interim arrangement'

Liberal Democrat councillor Stephen Bridgett, who represents Rothbury, added: "It was a member of staff at county hall that pointed me in the direction of this information.

"They couldn't believe that a man who was brought in to cut their jobs is being paid more than £1,000 a day to do it.

Lib Dem Jeff Reid, the leader of the county council, which has no one party in overall control, said in a statement: "The officer concerned is carrying significant responsibilities and workload, and will be overseeing the outstanding and important issue of single status negotiations, as well as carrying a range of director level responsibilities.

"This continuing interim arrangement will ensure that the council benefits from continuity of advice when dealing with such a significant programme of change."

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