COUNCIL bosses have been criticised after it was revealed £90million was spent on interim and consultants while they looked to cut budgets.

Figures show Essex County Council spent £50.6million on consultants and just under £39.6 on temporary staff over the last three-and-a-half financial years.

This comes as the authority seeks to cut their spending by £215million before 2017.

Lib Dem councillor for Brentwood South David Kendall found out the figures after raising questions at a full council meeting.

He called the sums shocking especially at a time when the council is slashing budgets for services.

Mr Kendall said: “These figures set against the pathetic sum of £2million which is what the Tories want to allocate towards Youth Services in Essex show that they have their priorities all wrong.

“Essex residents young and old will be horrified to hear that that the Tories propose to reduce spending on Youth services by £10million over three years which equates to an 83 per cent cut but are happy to spend over £90million on interim staff and consultants.

“You couldn't make it up if you tried.”

Bosses at the council any temporary or consultancy staff appointments are considered carefully.

A spokeswoman said: “Essex County Council has a continual drive to reduce costs in this area.

“We always weigh up the use of consultants and interim staff very carefully.

“However it can sometimes be a cost effective way to deal with short term or one-off pieces of work to help support our in-house capabilities.”