Edinburgh City Council place 500 staff on furlough
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Edinburgh City Council has today announced that 500 of its staff members will be placed on furlough.
In a briefing note sent to councillors from Dr Stephen Moir, the council's executive director of resources, officials are keen to point out that only staff “in roles which are predominantly funded by income/fees and charges” will be affected.
The note also makes it clear that "none of the employees concerned will suffer any financial detriment, because we will be ensuring that they receive their full, normal remuneration and no terms and conditions will be negatively impacted by this."
Councillors have been told the move is expected to generate approximately £500,000 of “financial mitigation benefit for the Council from HMRC.”
The decision to place staff on furlough was made by Council Chief Executive Andrew Kerr, in consultation with the Leader and Deputy Leader of the council. Today marks the final date that businesses and organisations can apply to place staff on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Green councillor Melanie Main said: “Given the huge budget hole the council has every little helps, although the £500,000 extra here is less than 1% of the shortfall the council faces.
“I can see why the council managers felt the need to move quickly given the looming deadline but I’m concerned as to why this very significant step was not identified earlier which would have allowed councillors to look at it properly. For example, I’d want to be reassured that staff being furloughed would not be needed in some other way during the furlough period, such as preparing schools for the return of pupils after the summer.”
More to follow.