LIB Dem county councillors have criticised Surrey’s ruling Tory administration for recruiting a £55,000 ‘head of strategy’ post when at the same time planning staff redundancies and cutting services by millions of pounds.

The advert, which has been posted extensively online and in the national press, seeks to recruit a “highly politically astute” individual who will be a “skilful networker” and “support the leadership” of the county council.

The salary’s between £55,484 and £66,644 for a 36 hour working week, with a laptop and mobile supplied.

Hazel Watson, Lib Dem leader at County Hall, in Kingston, said: “I am very concerned the council is recruiting for such a post in the middle of a financial crisis and when services are being cut and redundancies considered.

“Surrey residents will not understand the priorities of the ruling Conservative Group if this well-remuner- ated appointment goes ahead at the same time as budgets for social care, libraries, tips and roads are being reduced.

“I have written to the leader of the council outlining my opposition to this post and asking him to explain the rationale behind the recruitment.

“The council already has a chief executive, deputy chief executive and senior management team – it is clear to me that this strategy post is unnecessary at the current time and simply cannot be justified. The Conservative administration at County Hall should delete this post and use the money saved towards protecting vital services for Surrey residents.”

A council spokesman told The Herald: “This is a time of when we face huge changes on funding and service delivery and have to respond to unprecedented demand for our services.

“We need experienced people to help guide the organisation through this period but we fully recognise the need to secure value for money for Surrey taxpayers. That is why we are replacing two vacant posts with just one.”