BARNSLEY Council has responded to an 'outraged' trade union after it was found the local authority is paying an external consultant £11,000 per month.

Dave Finnegan was brought in by the council to implement £2million worth of cuts and has drawn up plans to cut 44 front-line lobs, including refuse collectors and highways maintenance workers and to downgrade a number of other posts at the council’s Smithies depot.

UNISON has said it's 'outraged' by the figure and the comments allegedly made by Finnegan while addressing a meeting of the workforce.

It's claimed that Mr Finnegan was asked about his £12,000 salary and his reply was to say that he is not paid £12,000 a month and it is in fact just over £11,000.

UNISON branch secretary Brian Steele said: "Mr Finnegan’s comment was insensitive and ill-judged.

"He was addressing hard-working people who do essential front-line jobs and who are facing redundancy and pay cuts of up to £4,700 per year as a result of his proposals."

Sir Stephen Houghton, leader of the council, said: "We are paying in line with market rates for an assistant director position, which is less than the figure quoted.

"The consultant has been appointed as an interim arrangement to help us drive service improvements while reducing costs.

"He has helped us to identify over £2million savings through improving our use of resources, maximising the use of vehicles and targeting our work on the areas of greatest need.

"This is not an additional job in the council. The cost is partly covered by the senior management post which has been vacant in this area since October 2012.

"We have now made a permanent appointment to this post. We are grateful to the interim manager for the work he has done in very challenging circumstances."