A cash-strapped council has spent nearly £700,000 – to find out how to save money.
Plymouth City Council commissioned accountants Ernst and Young to help it plug holes in its budget. The bill came to £669,000 – enough to fill 8,725 potholes, employ 17 teachers or fund 61,000 hours of care.
Ernst and Young were brought in after government funding was slashed and the Labour-run administration's deficit neared £75 million. The accountants said their 46-page blueprint could save the council £40 million in three years.
But local Tory MP Gary Streeter said: "I wouldn't expect a piece of work like this to cost anything near this."
Tracey Lee, council chief executive, said: "We have to spend money in order to save."