Further to the recent post about Rod Liddle's criticism of "non-jobs" at Conservative councils some of the Council leaders have now responded.
This was the list produced by Liddle:
Havant District Council (Conservative-controlled) Workplace travel co-ordinator (£22,000+)
Herefordshire County Council (Conservative-controlled) Gypsy Romany liaison officer (£26,700+)
Rugby District Council (Conservative-controlled) — Family Lifestyles officer (what that? –Ed) (£21,500)
West Sussex Council (Conservative-controlled) — Woodfuel development officer (£35,430!!!!)
Forest of Dean District Council (Conservative-controlled) — Healthy Walks co-ordinator (£15,400)
Ryedale District Council (Conservative-controlled, no Labour councillors at all) — Life Skills and Positive Activities officer (£21,000+)
Teignbridge District Council (Conservative-Lib Dem coalition) — Active Village co-ordinator (£10,000)
Cllr Keith Knaggs, the leader of Ryedale District Council writes:
Rod Liddle needs to improve his knowledge of matters north of Millwall. Ryedale District Council does not represent the most cheerfully right-wing constituency in Britain (pleased about the cheerful bit though) but is the less Conservative part of a seat in which the Conservatives took 53% of the vote – sound but not overwhelming. We've never had a majority on this Council and I am its first Tory leader running a minority administration.
His research comes from the Daily Mail, who as far as I am concerned have done an excellent job in identifying a post I didn't even know about. Full marks to them. But there's a difference between being responsible for things and ranting about them and the difference is that you investigate all the facts.
This dubious-sounding post is a temporary 12 month position, funded from the last of Labour's regional funds not by the local tax-payer, as part of the attempt to get young homeless people out of the spiral down to disaster and into the world of work. You may be surprised that a rural district like
Ryedale has a significant homelessness problem but it has and the cost to the tax-payer of homeless unemployed young people, with all that implies for crime, makes it worthwhile spending a bit to get a better outcome.
Does this post actually help achieve any of that? Come September when this contract expires, I (if it's still my responsibility) will challenge officers about the evidence of positive results. If I had to decide now the answer would be "scrap the post"; the tax-payer is paying for it. But the objective is a common sense one and the only thing profligate and unnecessary is Mr. Liddle's rhetoric. I should add that his columns are entertaining and I'll keep on reading them.
Cllr Louise Goldsmith, the leader of West Sussex County Council writes:
Just for the record the WoodFuel post is a little inaccurate. The post is jointly funded by the Forestry Commission and Leader, an EU agency. WSCC and the Council Taxpayer contribute not one penny.
Cllr Roger Phillips, the leader of Hereford Council, writes:
The position in Herefordshire is for an officer to deal with the education and welfare issues of traveller children. The individual will be responsible for ensuring either school attendance or that any education at home is done to the legal requirements. They will also oversee any child care and protection issues and will be required to make home visits to individual site and caravans.
In the past we have experience of such welfare position being difficult to recruit to.
Many thanks for the responses - I have yet to hear back from the other four.