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Former Cumbria council boss’s ‘sickening’ golden handshake

Cumbria County Council is facing a barrage of criticism after it was revealed its former chief executive walked away with a “sickening” £400,000 payoff.

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Jill Stannard: She also received a golden handshake

Union leaders have questioned the so-called “golden handshake”, asking how it can be justified when workers are striking simply to achieve a one per cent pay rise.

A Taxpayers’ Alliance representative branded it a “ridiculous waste of money”.

However, the county council has defended the payment, insisting that by restructuring its senior management it has saved more than half a million pounds.

The announcement that Jill Stannard was taking early retirement from her £170,000-a-year post last year triggered a political row, with both Prime Minister David Cameron and Carlisle MP John Stevenson condemning her salary.

Deborah Hamilton, branch secretary with Unison in Cumbria, said: “When you see such a payout in context it is utterly sickening.

“We have members who will be striking for a pay rise of above one per cent next week. These are people who paid on the edge of the living wage, people who look after the most vulnerable in society, supporting dementia care and children at risk.

“They will have no chance of seeing a payout like this in their lives – to many of them this would represent over 20 years’ pay.

“The rich seem to get richer and the poor poorer.”

The Taxpayers’ Alliance argued that it was the public who would lose out in the deal.

Campaign manager Andy Silvester said: “This is a ridiculous waste of money. The council’s priority should be frontline services, not ensuring that former employees can live in luxury.

“There is no magic money tree; it’s taxpayers who will end up footing this massive bill.”

A county council spokesman said: “These costs are an inevitable consequence of the Government’s decision to cut council funding as part of its efforts to balance the nation’s books.

“As a result of the senior officer restructuring that took place last year, the council will achieve a permanent annual saving of £584,000.

“In addition, the Local Government Chronicle has reported this month that Cumbria County Council’s current chief executive has had the biggest drop in salary out of any council in its latest annual survey.”

He also revealed that the council had reduced the number of staff receiving more than £50,000 a year by eight per cent.

Its total salary costs for all staff have reduced from £357m in 2012/13 to £355m in 2013/14.

Have your say

She may as well have the shirt off my back as well.

Where do I send it ...

Posted by Terry on 7 July 2014 at 10:30

To all of those who are surprised that Labour officials are happy taking these huge payouts from the hard working Cumbrian public's purse, Labour ceased to exist as the party of the people MANY years ago! Around 1995 to be more precise. And as for the Evening News and Star, THIS is a much bigger scandal than your constant attempts to sabre rattle on Lee Sherriffs behalf about the reductions in benefits which this 'New' Labour were also planning to bring in.
Shame on you all for letting the Tory wolves masquerade as 'New Labour' and then complaining when they started to single out and attack the weakest in the electoral 'flock'!

Posted by craig on 7 July 2014 at 06:26

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