AT LEAST £65 MILLION ON AGENCY WORKERS LAST YEAR
FURTHER education colleges
spent at least £65 million on agency staff last year, according to
new figures released on Friday, 11 May 2012.
Information obtained by UNISON, under the freedom of information
act, shows that 170 colleges that replied to the union's request
spent a combined total of £64,613,485 on agency staff. There are 251
FE colleges, meaning the total bill will be even higher.
The disclosures come as hardworking college staff have seen their
incomes fall in real terms by up to £3,100 over two years, and the
cost of living rise by 9.4%. They are also facing the constant
threat of job cuts.
The unions are warning colleges that using agencies is a
particularly wasteful way of employing staff. Agencies regularly
charge fees as much as three times the cost of directly employing a
member of staff. Colleges also have to pay 20% VAT on agency bills,
but do not have to pay this tax when they directly employ workers.
Colleges with the highest spend on agency staff include Bolton
College, which recently announced plans to introduce £7,000 pay cuts
for some teaching staff. Leeds City College, Rotherham College of
Arts and Technology, Lewisham College, City College Birmingham and
the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London all spent
over £2m on agencies.
UNISON and the University and College Union (UCU) will be raising
this issue with employers when they meet them.
UNISON head of education, Jon Richards, said:- "Colleges are
claiming that they cannot afford to relieve the pressure on workers
and their families by giving them a pay rise. These staff will be
rightly shocked that colleges have tens of millions to spend on
agency workers and on VAT bills. This is a disgraceful waste of
money. It is time for colleges to stop wasting money and mange their
budgets so they can pay workers fairly and safeguard jobs."
UCU head of further education, Barry Lovejoy, said:-
who for the last two years have been forced to suffer real-term pay
cuts, will be astonished to see the amount of money colleges have
spent on agencies. How can institutions use the funding
uncertainties in further education as an excuse to keep salaries
down and at the same time sign all this money off?"
investigation raises fears about rogue landlords
PUBLIC sector cuts are
hampering the ability of some councils to crack down on rogue
landlords according to an investigation carried out by Environmental
Health News, the magazine of the Chartered Institute of
Environmental Health (CIEH).
The findings of the investigation will be discussed at a major
Housing Conference on 17 May 2012.
One respondent says:- "we generally have no budget to
prosecute", another notes that their authority has been
unable to take "any notices through to prosecution stage"
since 2009 because their legal department is so small.
Other comments focus on the impact of severe staff shortages. One
council has "practically disbanded its private sector
housing team and another has a single EHP covering 2
authorities with large geographical areas following a
One EHP remarks there has been increase in the number of landlords
refusing to undertake improvement or remedial work in the last 2
Commenting, David Kidney, CIEH Head of Policy, said:- "This
survey confirms our worst fears – that many councils are finding it
increasingly difficult to conduct investigations due to cutbacks in
government housing expenditure. This is impairing the ability of EHOs
to tackle abuses in the private rented sector."
David added that it made no sense to cut back investment in housing.
"As we have said it makes no 'economic' sense to cut back
investment in housing. The equation is a simple one: poor housing
leads to poor health which leads to longer NHS queues which ends up
putting a further squeeze the nation's resources. The
government's obsession with cutting spending is putting some of the
most vulnerable people at risk. We must have an informed, evidence
based discussion about housing in this country."