Job cuts funded by ‘family silver’

Boclair House, Bearsden.
Boclair House, Bearsden.

A Bearsden councillor is outraged that cash raised by East Dunbartonshire Council from selling local assets is going

towards redundancy payouts.

SNP Councillor Keith Small says the historic Boclair House in Bearsden is a prime example of this.

WPH Developments Limited/Westpoint Home paid £1,050,000 for the historic building, which is going to be transformed into a boutique hotel this year with an upmarket housing development to the rear.

Last November the Labour/Lib Dem/Tory administration decided that all capital receipts from the sale of assets, land and property over the next three years would be used to meet the cost of change, including exit packages. This capital fund is estimated to be worth approximately £13 million.

Councillor Keith Small said: “This money, including the Boclair House sale, could end up being used to fund exit packages for staff.

“I don’t believe that the public are aware that money raised from the sale of local assets is being used for this purpose. Many other local assets and land have been identified for sale.

“This is part of the council plan to reduce staff numbers by approximately 250 posts and make savings. However, auditors have commented that the savings likely to be achieved through workforce reductions are not clear.”

The average cost of exit packages has been increasing since 2011/12 from £51,177 to £76,075 in 2013/14.

He added: “Eighty employees received exit packages and this has cost the taxpayer £6.086 million.

“So we are selling off valuable local assets, the family silver, to allegedly make savings.”

Ian Black, director of finance and shared services at East Dunbartonshire Council, said: “Monies received from the sale of land and assets are aggregated into a capital fund which is available to augment resources for building and improving assets, and to meet one-off costs.

“In November 2014 the council recast its 10-year capital programme to ensure delivery of priority projects and all areas of East Dunbartonshire – including Bearsden – will see significant benefits.”

Boclair House is a magnificent Category B listed red sandstone Tudor Gothic mansion, built in 1890.