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CURRY PLEDGES TO CLOSE STAFF COMPENSATION LOOPHOLES

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A move by Labour to revoke reorganisation staff compensation regulations was defeated last night in the Commons. ...
A move by Labour to revoke reorganisation staff compensation regulations was defeated last night in the Commons.

Local government minister David Curry said the existing regulations were 'fair, reasonable and honourable and they will give a new and good start to the new unitary authorities.'

But the minister pledged to amend regulations to 'close any door' that could lead to a situation where people 'could be compensated and then walk out of one job and straight into another and collect a salary.'

Mr Curry was forced to respond to a number of interventions from MPs querying the latest government reorganisation moves.

Shadow environment secretary Frank Dobson claimed reorganisation was a 'shambles'.

He said: 'In effect the government has just announced that they cannot find money for the process of change in Nottingham, Plymouth, Blackpool, Peterborough, Torbay, Southend, Thurrock, Warrington, Blackburn, Halton, The Wrekin and the Medway Towns, and all the changes in the whole of Berkshire.

'As a result we have an extended period of uncertainty and a likely period during which further expenses will be incurred. That uncertainty and expense will be bad for local people, bad for local purposes and bad for staff.'

Alan Simpson, MP for Nottingham South, said that fact that Nottingham was 'in a programme but not in a timetable' for unitary status was causing 'absolute confusion'.

In response, Mr Curry was unable to give a date for the transition of Nottingham. He said districts in the county were involved in the re-review and 'one would not want reorganisations in the same county in successive years. That would be one transition too many.'

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