COUNCIL SAVES £4M ON WAGE BILL IN FOUR YEARS
The Council of the Isles of Scilly claims to have made a cumulative saving of more than £4 million on staffing costs since 2012.
Speaking at Saturday's public meeting on Budget and Spending priorities, Lead Member for Finance Steve Sims said that there are now "considerably fewer staff" working at the Town Hall.
The wage bill was £5.1m in the financial year 2012-13, falling to £3.5m in the current year. There are currently 117 full time equivalent employees at the Council.
Cllr Sims and Town Hall Head of Finance Diana Mompoloki clarified that the wage bill does not include people brought in from the mainland - eg Trading Standards - or agency staff, as they are not direct employees of the Council. These posts are counted as third party payments.
Teachers are also not included as the money is passported straight to the school without being held at the Town Hall.
Diana revealed that agency staffing costs are currently running at around £200-£250,000 across the organisation "but that changes week by week, month by month as people resign and we have to fill posts".
Cllr Sims said: "Third party payments have gone up because the wage bill has gone down, but by nowhere near as much. So the savings figure will be a little bit less than 4m, but not substantially."
However, he added that the reduced salary bill is not all good news, saying: "I think the drawback to that is while its great to save money in the Town Hall, that's a total of £4m that will not be coming back into the economy for the islands.
"The Isles of Scilly is in many ways a company town. Roughly 10-20% of the working population is in the Town Hall and it's a considerable boost to the income of the islands. If you want to keep local shops and amenities open, you need people working.
"So while it's good in terms of what the public sector is spending, I don't think it's necessarily good for the islands."