I’ve just got my hands on figures showing how much Plymouth City Council has been spending on external consultants in recent years, and it isn’t pretty.
In the last three financial years the Conservative-run council has spent over £20,000,000 on consultants. And the rate at which they are spending on them is rapidly increasing – up 86 per cent from £4.5m in 2007/08 to £8.3m in 2009/10.
The most recent year’s figure is the equivalent of £111 on the average Council Tax bill sent to city residents, so this is no small beer.
With councils, including Plymouth, having to look very closely indeed at their finances, it strikes me that there simply must be money to be saved in the ballooning amount that has been spent on these consultants.
In fact, when the amount spent is equivalent to over £100 on an average Council Tax bill, then the time has come for the leader of the council herself to get involved. Every pound she can save on consultants’ bills is a pound that she won’t have to cut from frontline public services. So, I’d like to see her sit down and get a grip on this by going through this spending line-by-line, item-by-item.