Aberdeen City Council was today accused of “squandering money” after setting aside £30,000 for 75 new staff uniforms.
Stephen Flynn, SNP group leader, said Aberdeen City Council was wasting money on “pet projects”.
The Evening Express can reveal £11,600 of taxpayers’ cash had already been spent to kit-out 30 of its staff.
New uniforms have been introduced for staff who work in Aberdeen City Council’s Customer Service Centre at Marischal College and at Customer Access Points around the city on a 12-month trial basis.
The pilot, which sees staff wear new uniforms with corporate branding, was due to conclude in the new year, but could continue if approved by senior management.
This expenditure forms part of an overall £30,000 price tag set aside for 75 uniforms – meaning each staff members’s attire would cost £400.
A spokeswoman for the city council said unions did not object to the move on the understanding it did not impact on staff terms and conditions.
But Tommy Campbell, Unite regional officer, said it was “not true” that unions hadn’t objected to the move.
He added: “The Unite union rep clearly questioned where the money was coming from because the budget was tight.
“The management said they had found some money and it was their decision to go ahead with it because it was deemed important to have a corporate image. Our position is the same as it was then.
“If they did find some money, it would be better spent providing services to the people because our members were not demanding it.
“The council can find money for their little pet projects, and councillors need to start getting a grip and taking more control of the council’s expenditure rather than squandering money yet again.”
Councillor Flynn said: “On the face of it, this appears to be an entirely unnecessary spend from a Tory-led council which appears to be throwing money down the drain while at the same time preaching cuts.
“Given that these council employees have ID badges I’m at a loss as to why they would be expected to wear identical clothing at an exorbitant cost to the public purse.”
The city council spokeswoman said: “There are often multiple services provided by Aberdeen City Council at customer access points.
“To clarify this initiative includes only staff working for customer service, however this may be a receptionist in some buildings.
“Uniforms are part of a range that staff can select from which includes trousers, jumpers, shirts, blouses, dresses, cardigans, tank tops, blazers, soft shell jackets.”
She added £30,000 was set aside for the purchase of uniforms, and to date 30 uniforms had been purchased at a cost of £11,600.