Baroness Smith condemns job losses at Basildon Council

Echo: Baroness Smith Baroness Smith

FORMER Labour MP Baroness Smith said Basildon Council’s decision to put all staff on notice they could lose their jobs would leave them “numb, scared and demoralised”.

Speaking in a House of Lords debate on the local government settlement, she was critical of Coalition cuts to councils and Basildon’s resulting decision to put all staff on notice when up to 200 jobs could go.

But her attack has led to a war of words with Phil Turner, Tory deputy leader of the council, who branded her a “deluded has-been politician” whose party was responsible for the cuts now being made.

Last week the Echo revealed every around 1,000 members of staff at the council received letters from human resources about a three-month consultation into the changes.

Baroness Smith said: “At the council of my home town, Basildon, virtually every member of staff was handed a personal letter headed “transformation programme collective redundancy consultation". In all my years involved in local government I have never seen anything like it.

“Not a single member of staff, other than the most senior, I understand, has job security.

“How did those staff, many long term and not on high salaries, feel when they went home that night, numb, scared? They were certainly demoralised.”

Mr Turner said the letter was a legal requirement and the council had been up-front with staff about the looming redundancies much earlier with an article in the Echo plus a series of roadshows at the authority.

He said: “We have to be up-front and honest with our employees and need an open and honest dialogue. Plus this also gives some employees the opportunity to look for an alternative course of action in the meantime.

“This is damn right hypocritical of Angela who was in bed with Gordon Brown who got us into this mess so she needs to look at her self in the mirror.

“She is a sad deluded has been politician who had her time in Government and they screwed up on her watch. Her comments are giving false hope to staff that there is another way, but there isn’t.”

Comments (5)

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10:03am Tue 22 Jan 13

notinwestcliffanymore says...

Not a single member of staff, other than the most senior, I understand, has job security.

Thats typical the most senior again are protected, who do the council tax payers want 4 HR managers or 10 bin men.
Not a single member of staff, other than the most senior, I understand, has job security. Thats typical the most senior again are protected, who do the council tax payers want 4 HR managers or 10 bin men. notinwestcliffanymore
  • Score: 0

10:41am Tue 22 Jan 13

Discouraged says...

Basildon Council seriously over spent on the sports centre and are now building on every bit of green they can find to get some cash back. Unfortunately an ex MP who charged us for her council tax twice and £260 for a tv licence and got half of a flat in London, isn't the best person to complain about others mishandling money.
Basildon Council seriously over spent on the sports centre and are now building on every bit of green they can find to get some cash back. Unfortunately an ex MP who charged us for her council tax twice and £260 for a tv licence and got half of a flat in London, isn't the best person to complain about others mishandling money. Discouraged
  • Score: 0

10:56am Tue 22 Jan 13

Eric Whim says...

Last week the Echo revealed every around 1,000 members of staff


eh?

If they're going to prune the amount of staff at The Council maybe they ought to start at the top and work down. Make much bigger financial savings that way
[quote]Last week the Echo revealed every around 1,000 members of staff[/quote] eh? If they're going to prune the amount of staff at The Council maybe they ought to start at the top and work down. Make much bigger financial savings that way Eric Whim
  • Score: 0

8:32pm Tue 22 Jan 13

gumbley says...

I always thought she shared her bed with her husband Cllr Nigel Smith but perhaps Cllr Turner knows different!
I always thought she shared her bed with her husband Cllr Nigel Smith but perhaps Cllr Turner knows different! gumbley
  • Score: 0

10:50pm Tue 22 Jan 13

A.N.Other says...

Discouraged wrote:
Basildon Council seriously over spent on the sports centre and are now building on every bit of green they can find to get some cash back. Unfortunately an ex MP who charged us for her council tax twice and £260 for a tv licence and got half of a flat in London, isn't the best person to complain about others mishandling money.
She purchased the property with her husband but got 100% of the mortgage paid by the taxpayer. And she got to keep the property and any profit she makes from when she sells it. She is nothing more than a massively expensive parasite and a sponger living off the backs of the taxpayer.
[quote][p][bold]Discouraged[/bold] wrote: Basildon Council seriously over spent on the sports centre and are now building on every bit of green they can find to get some cash back. Unfortunately an ex MP who charged us for her council tax twice and £260 for a tv licence and got half of a flat in London, isn't the best person to complain about others mishandling money.[/p][/quote]She purchased the property with her husband but got 100% of the mortgage paid by the taxpayer. And she got to keep the property and any profit she makes from when she sells it. She is nothing more than a massively expensive parasite and a sponger living off the backs of the taxpayer. A.N.Other
  • Score: 0

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