SWINDON Borough Council has been criticised after creating a job for someone to communicate how cuts are going to be implemented.

This role is for a communications and engagement manager and the successful applicant will be paid almost £45,000 a year.

Over the next four years, £80 million in cuts are needed and so council chiefs have said the local authority will need to change the way many of the services are offered.

To make sure these changes are better communicated this new position has been created, which could cost the council up to £60,000 when National Insurance and pension contributions are taken into account.

Opponents have branded the move a waste of money but the leader of Swindon council says it is important to make sure people are effectively told about the changes coming into effect.

There are currently ten people working in the communication department, with two monitoring the website and two on internal comms.

The job advert reads: “Swindon Borough Council has set an ambitious vision for Swindon by 2020 and we're committed to making that vision a reality.

“But we also need to balance our books so that we're sustainable in the long-term and able to make a positive contribution to the lives of Swindon's residents. That means that what the council does in the future will have to fundamentally change.

 “We're looking for an experienced and enthusiastic communications professional to help us to explain those changes and support us to better engage with Swindon residents on issues that matter to them.”

The news comes a week after the council announced it had spent nearly £20,000 on the production of a magazine to inform people of the latest budget proposals.

Council Leader David Renard (Con, Haydon Wick) said the money for the role, which is vital for helping the council raise awareness on key issues, will come from existing funds.

He said: “Raising awareness about our services, giving accessible information and engaging people are crucial elements in responding to our financial challenges and achieving our long term vision for Swindon.

“Examples we’re currently working on are giving young people access to employment opportunities through the forthcoming JobFest, and raising awareness of Child Sexual Exploitation so that we can protect those who might be vulnerable.

“This will all save us money over time. This new role will make sure that we can expand this work.

“For instance, we need to address our desperate shortage of foster carers. If we succeed in recruiting just two more, that alone will save us more than the post will cost.”

Labour said the move beggar’s belief at a time when services are being cut and called for the advert to be removed.

Councillor Derique Montaut (Lab, Eldene, Liden and Park South) said: “When I saw this post advertised I was very angry.

“At a time when the Council say they are desperate to find money, the Conservative administration has agreed to spend approximately £60K a year on a new communications manager.

“Together with the recent news that they have spent £20K of taxpayer’s money on a new council magazine, I think this just goes to show that this Conservative administration are much more interested in spreading propaganda to the public about their cuts agenda than doing what’s in the interest of Swindon.”