UP TO 400 council jobs are set to be axed as part of drastic cost-cutting measures in Hillingdon, according to the opposition Labour group.
Deputy leader of the opposition, Councillor Anita MacDonald, has accused the ruling Conservative administration of 'wasting money on luxuries'.
But the suggestion has been branded as 'absolute nonsense' by the leader of the council, Councillor Ray Puddifoot.
Hillingdon Council has announced it will make a a total of £22.4million cuts within the next year, as other councils across the country are forced to make tough spending decisions.
Deputy leader of the opposition, Councillor Anita MacDonald, said front-line staff and tax payers would suffer as a result.
"Between 300 and 400 civic centre posts will be chopped, which will have a knock-on effect on front line services, particularly education, welfare officers and social services," Ms MacDonald said.
"The leader of the council, Councillor Ray Puddifoot, recently had a 42-inch plasma television installed in his personal office, which was paid for by the tax payer, but that money should have been used to help the civic centre.
"The mosaic at the civic centre cost £19,000 – that is someone's salary for a year – and that's where the cuts should have been made, otherwise residents could see a rise in council tax."
In a bitter war of words, Mr Puddifoot responded: "Councillor MacDonald plays no part in the decision making process and doesn't have a clue what's going on.
"A cost-cutting exercise began last October and jobs are being cut from the top – two corporate director positions are being merged – but none of the civic centre staff are set to lose their jobs."
But Mr Puddifoot did not deny the claim about the flat-screen television, arguing it was necessary to keep up to date with current affairs.
He added: "We have saved £50million in the last four years so we are taking a very measured approach to see how services can be developed in a more efficient manner, and the £22.4million should not be a problem for us.
"Hillingdon is flying at the moment – we have not had a rise in council tax for the past two years, we have some of the best parks in London and better leisure facilities.
"We have just gone to the people of the borough and we said we will continue to do the same thing, and they voted for us – not for Labour.
"They couldn't handle the situation as well as we can and if they were in charge, residents would be right to be frightened."
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