A LOCAL authority looking to save £20 million is to appoint a 'cuts manager' at a cost of over £100,000.

The person appointed will have an annual salary of between £36,153 and £39,002 and the two-year appointment will cost Gwynedd Council a total of £104,747.

The 'cuts manager's brief will be to find savings of up to £20m as part of the 2018-2023 Gwynedd Council plan.

The authority’s cabinet approved the financial package for the appointment, which is described as an “invest to save” measure.

Cabinet member Cllr Nia Jeffreys said: “It’s vital that we squeeze every last penny of efficiency savings that we can by being innovative while providing the best possible services for the people of Gwynedd.

“This is a fine example of a one-off cost in order to achieve permanent savings.”

According to a report presented to cabinet members, the post holder will also be responsible for setting-up the authority’s new leisure company.

Gwynedd council currently runs 12 leisure centres – Bala, Bangor, Arfon Leisure and Tennis Centre, two in Caernarfon, Porthmadog, Tywyn, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Pwllheli, Dolgellau, Barmouth, Bethesda and Penygroes – at a cost of almost £5m a year.

It currently subsidises the service to the tune of almost £1.9m, with around £3.1m being generated through admission and membership fees.

But the authority feels that the new company will allow it to make savings of around £585,000 a year – without having an effect on its leisure provision, or staff.

A council spokesman said: “Less money for local councils in Wales has meant that since 2015 Gwynedd has had to save £6m.

“This work was led by a team of officers who were responsible for delivering projects to save money across council departments.

“This team will be replaced with a single temporary post for two years who will receive an annual salary of between £36,153 and £39,002.

“This officer will lead the work of delivering further council savings of up to £20m.

“This includes leading the work to establish a new company to run the council’s leisure centres, a project expected to deliver annual savings of £585,000.

“If this post did not exist, the council would need to increase staffing levels in a number of individual departments.

"This would cost the council significantly more.”