Suffolk: County bonus payments included in council budget agreed back in February

The county council

The county council - Credit: Archant

The £250 bonus paid to staff at Suffolk County Council was paid from money allocated to council restructuring in the budget agreed by the authority in February this year.

Revealed in the East Anglian Daily Times yesterday, senior councillors and officials are convinced that the offer, which will cost the authority a total of £850,000 as a one-off payment, will save council taxpayers in the long term because it enables the authority to abolish pay increments.

It was linked to a national 1% pay rise which was announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his spending review and will be paid to council workers across the country.

When we revealed the bonus, there was criticism that it had not been discussed by the cabinet in public before the decision was made.

However the council insisted that the money had come out of the funds that had been set aside for restructuring in this year’s budget.

The authority insisted there was not a fixed figure above which spending had to be approved by the cabinet.

A spokesman said: “All contracts have to be formally agreed by the cabinet, things like the highways contract that was agreed last year.

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“But pay issues like this don’t have to go to cabinet – this was included in the restructuring costs.”

The 1% pay rise was the first across-the-board rises for council employees for several years after austerity cuts were imposed by the government on local authorities.