The manner of Clare Marchant’s Chief Executive exit from Worcestershire County Council (WCC) on Friday was an unedifying spectacle. The council posting on social media their ‘fond farewell’ to her from inside their little shindig at County Hall.

It seems they have lost control of their collective senses, or whoever was responsible for this has, and forgotten the impact that the council’s callous regime has had on the vulnerable with Social Care in crisis, Children’s Services rated inadequate, 1500 jobs slashed, the Babcock fiasco, payroll cock-up, endless loaded consultations designed to spin the truth of cuts, and a PFI Hartlebury Incinerator white elephant that will saddle local taxpayers with decades of debt topping £1billion.

Stephen Brown Wyre Forest Labour Press Officer said “for those detrimentally affected by Clare’s regime, ‘good riddance’ might be more appropriate because I doubt any of those who’ve suffered at the hands of this Tory ‘agent of austerity’ will think a ‘fond farewell’ is appropriate.

“Since joining the council in 2010 as ‘head of change’ (euphemism for cuts department) Clare has overseen £129 million cuts in services which has impacted those same services and taken money and jobs out of the local economy thus deflating it.

“Average pay here is already well below the national average by £100 per week for in some places and Worcestershire is near bottom of the Govt funding league.

“When she became Chief Executive in 2014 she was getting paid £155k per year plus £19k pension top up, not bad considering how she’s slashed, trashed, and privatised a lot of what the council do.

“Council workers have seen a real reduction in pay of some 20% (source: UNISON NJC claim 2017) since 2009 and fare worse off than the average as many are part-time women who are doubly affected by austerity.

“Clare has been earning ten times what many of these women earn. So, frankly, it’s obscene the council were tweeting this information and their ‘fond farewell’, especially when she’s about to leave for UCAS to earn considerably more at £237k per year”.

Labour believes this level of pay for top management in local authorities has to stop. Indeed, in the recent council elections, Labour called for the WCC Chief Executive post to be scrapped and a more co-operative model be adopted to share responsibilities. Further, services be brought back in-house to save money and put an end to the privateers gravy train that is lining the pockets of big business at the expense of service users, and all funded by taxpayers.

Local taxpayers deserve better and a council demanding appropriate funding from Govt to address the real issues our County faces, not parties dedicated to celebrating the Tory ‘agents of austerity’ decimation of our public services.

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