The Lib Dems in York have challenged Labour’s decision to spend more than a quarter of a million pounds on salaries for a new public health director and assistant director.
Labour has strongly defended the move as in the best interests of York to have people in these key roles.
Cllr Nigel Ayre, leader of the Lib Dem group, said It was extraordinary that less than two months into their administration Labour has chosen to allocate a vast sum to paying two salaries rather than spending the money on direct action to improve the health of York residents.
He added: “Local authority budgets are under huge pressure and every area of spend should be thoroughly scrutinised to make sure the most money possible is available to directly support residents.
“Nodding this through without properly considering value for money will inevitably mean vital services have to be cut and health inequality will worsen.”
The council leader, Labour’s Claire Douglas, replied that she and Cllr Ayre differed in their views.
She said the roles would allow York to get the best outcome for all residents. She added that the way that Labour understood the data led them to think that these were very important roles to combat health inequalities.
Cllr Douglas also said that the budget was ring-fenced too.
Cllr Ayre said: “Taking time to get this structure right would allow better exploration of alternative options.
“There is precedent for the role of public health director being shared across councils or even shared with the NHS.
“With the new Integrated Care Board and the impending combined authority opportunities like this to get the most for the public purse are vital.”
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