THE appointment of Wirral Council leader's policy adviser to a new £350-a-day job has sparked a furious reaction.

Opposition councillors have united with a trade union to condemn the highly-controversial move, which was announced today.

Martin Liptrot has been selected to be the authority's "investor development manager" tasked with attracting businesses and jobs to the borough.

He will be paid an eye-watering £350 per day on a temporary contract that will be reviewed after four months.

Mr Liptrot was appointed as policy adviser in September of 2015 in a post designed to help develop strategy with the leader, Cllr Phil Davies.

The new role had been mired in controversy even before the successful candidate was announced.

The ruling Labour group had agreed the urgency to appoint meant councillors must waive their powers to "call in" the proposal for further scrutiny.

Tory group leader Cllr Jeff Green said today: "I am sure the council taxpayers of Wirral will be horrified to learn their hard-earned money is being spent in this extravagant way on what is basically a non-job.

"It's astonishing that in a council with a staffing level of many thousands, the Labour administration could not find anyone with the skills or ability already working for us to supervise inward investment.

"Labour seems to think it is their money and forget every penny belongs to the taxpayers.

"Their crocodile tears over 'government cuts' will appear even more bogus than usual after this monumental waste of money."

His colleague Cllr Ian Lewis was equally outspoken: "This is one of the worst examples of 'jobs for the boys' we have ever seen in Wirral.

"The appointment of the leader's personal policy guru to this brand new post at £350-a-day contrasts with his non-stop whining about cuts elsewhere in his council.

"Why on earth he feels the government should step in and give his failing administration more cash when he wastes money like this shows how deluded Cllr Davies has become."

And Unison Wirral branch secretary Paddy Cleary said: "This is a waste of resources at a time when vital services are facing severe cutbacks.

"It's another kick in the teeth for staff who are looking over their shoulders to see what further cuts to their pay and conditions are coming down the line."

A spokesman for the council told the Globe: "The report was clear at the time – this post is required to help create jobs, attract investment and drive economic growth for Wirral.

"Major investment and regeneration is a competitive area, every area in the UK is putting major resources into driving economic growth.

"If Wirral does not compete at the same level, does not invest the level of resources and energy into driving economic growth as other areas in the UK, then investment, jobs and businesses will simply go elsewhere.

"The post was advertised and an open recruitment process was held with external support.

"The panel selected the best person for the job and that person has been appointed."

The interview panel - which saw three candidates for the job - was chaired by Alan Evans, the council's strategic development manager, and included Stephen Butterworth, head of transformation; Paula Basnett, chief executive of Wirral Chamber of Commerce and Ellen Cutler, director of inward investment at Liverpool Vision.

Mr Liptrot started in his new role today.

An "extraordinary meeting" of the full council is to be held on March 6 to discuss the new appointment.

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