Devon

Devon council staff get £5,000 instead of cars

Staff at a council in Devon who are losing their company cars under budget cuts are to receive a one-off £5,000 cash payment.

The move will cost North Devon District Council, which employs 500 staff, £300,000 in total.

But Des Brailey, the council's leader, said the loss of company cars would save up to 10 jobs.

The council, which covers a mainly rural area, has already announced 50 job cuts.

It said the loss of company cars and termination of car leasing agreements would save the council £180,000 a year from April 2011.

Mr Brailey told BBC News: "If people keep their cars, we've got another eight to 10 people to find who would necessarily lose their jobs and that's unfair."

Karen Williams, South West representative for the union Unison, which represents council staff, said: "There has to be some kind of parachute for people who have a contractual agreement that included [a car] as they move onto the next stage of their lives."

About 32 staff at the council currently have company cars, while others receive a car allowance, which will also be affected.

Councils around England will find out how much money they will receive from the government for the next two years when it is announced in the House of Commons later.

Local authorities' budgets are expected to be slashed as part of the government's £6.2bn spending cuts.

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