September 21 2014 Latest news:
by Flora Drury
Friday, August 1, 2014
Haringey’s housing arm has been slammed for spending £1.725million when making just 50 staff redundant last year – an average pay off of £35,000 each.
Cllr Sarah Elliott, the new leader of the Lib Dem opposition, has questioned whether Homes for Haringey (HfH) could have spent the money more wisely – especially in the wake of the bonus scandal.
The Broadway revealed last year how the council’s housing arm paid out £3.7m in bonuses to staff in less than two years, with one person in the repairs department claiming a bonus of £54,293 for work carried out in just 12 months, on top of their basic salary.
This latest spend, accounts reveal, pushed HfH over budget last year by £1,272,000 – with an underspend of £453,000 in the repairs department helping reduce the deficit.
Cllr Elliott said: “£1.7m is a lot of money for any organisation to spend on redundancies. It is particularly worrying that the council’s housing body has spent so much taxpayers’ cash on redundancies in the wake of the home repairs bonuses scandal.
“Each redundant staff member cost the public purse an average of £35,000 each, about a year’s pay for the ordinary Londoner.
“How can that be right when Labour keep telling us money is so tight, council services have to be cut? £1.7m would pay for a lot of services to local residents but instead HfH has spent it on these redundancies.”
But a HfH spokesman defended the spend, arguing the redundancy payments were “made on the basis of the regulations set by central government, or following settlements under employment legislation”.
He added: “The redundancies followed a restructuring of the organisation to improve service quality, reduce costs and deliver better value for money for the community.
“These were made by retraining staff, ‘natural wastage’ (staff taking a different career path through their own choice as normal), a freeze on recruitment and redeployment.”
HfH refused to say how much the largest payment was, on the grounds of confidentiality.