Portsmouth’s Tory leader questions need for council’s equalities team

CONCERN Cllr Donna Jones
CONCERN Cllr Donna Jones
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PORTSMOUTH’S Conservative group leader has questioned the need for the city council to have a equality and diversity team.

The service, which is made up of five employees, carries out surveys that ensures council reports are fair and non-prejudicial before they are published.

But Councillor Donna Jones said at the latest cabinet meeting that department managers should do the work, especially when some of them are paid £50,000 a year or more.

Addressing council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson, she said: ‘Is this really needed?

‘If you are paid £50,000, then as part of your post, you should be able to check a report to make sure it’s equal and diverse.

‘We are not asking for rocket science from people who are being paid £50,000 in this city.

‘Some of the money used (to pay for this team) could go towards the reopening of public toilets.’

Cllr Vernon-Jackson said the council needed to ensure it was protected or else it could open itself up to the risk of legal challenge.

City solicitor Michael Lawther said the cost of one case could be more than £8,000.

It come after local government minister Eric Pickles sent a letter to Cllr Vernon-Jackson about the irrelevance of such work, saying; ‘I hope this will give the encouragement you need to cease such pointless and intrusive surveys.’