Inflation-busting pay rise coming for Fareham council staff

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HUNDREDS of council workers are in line for an inflation-busting pay rise as the authority shares its success by splitting cash saved from a system.

The move will see ‘substantial’ percentage pay rises – believed to be five per cent – for all of the council’s 380 staff – bar its chief executive.

The spending bonanza is funded by savings brought about by Vanguard, a consultancy that overhauled the council’s systems and saved it £300,000 in just a year.

Fareham Borough Council’s leader Sean Woodward made the announcement at an executive meeting.

He said: ‘It is a message to the staff, showing them how much they’re appreciated and thanking them for embracing a new system, which puts our customers at the heart of everything we do.’

The exact percentage of the rise will be announced at December’s council meeting.

The council appointed Vanguard to overhaul its systems last year at a total cost of £300,000.

This was criticised as it happened when a £800,000 shortfall was announced in the council’s yearly budget.

A reorganisation of staff, voluntary redundancies and cutting back services ranked least popular by residents plugged this gap.

Savings from the first year of Vanguard are estimated at more than £300,000 per year – something which Cllr Woodward says will fund the rise.

He said he intends to keep council tax at the same level for a seventh year running and that no services would be affected by the pay rises.

Cllr Woodward said: ‘People provide the services so we only get good services if we have good people and if we want to keep them, we have to pay them well.’

James Saunders, from Fareham UNISON, welcomed the rise. He said: ‘In light of the £800k savings being met, it’s time to put savings back into the workforce following a challenging few years of pay freezes and cuts.’

The move was also welcomed by the Taxpayers’ Alliance.

Andy Silvester, from campaign group, said: ‘It’s great news the council is making savings, but it’s got to be careful not to throw that effort away by giving too-high pay increases. Every pay rise must be affordable.’

Not everybody welcomed the rise.

Ukip’s Chris Wood said he believed salaries should rise by no more than the rate of inflation.