Councillor reveals seven Thanet council tourism staff are at risk of redundancy

Droit House Photo Frank Leppard

Some seven Thanet tourism staff are facing redundancy, says Margate Central ward councillor Iris Johnston.

Speaking at a Thanet council meeting tonight (March 28) Cllr Johnston revealed a public petition had been raised in response to possible cuts in the service.

Fears were raised earlier this month that the service at Droit House would be closed as part of a cash-cutting drive by the authority,

Staff confirmed an expected closure of visitor information centre of April 22. Sources also confirm some staff are in consultation over possible redundancies.

But Thanet council later revealed Droit House would remain open after the authority secured another year on the lease of the property but admitted the tourism service was being reviewed.

Cllr Johnston said: “We have a duty of care to all our staff and seven highly valued tourism staff are at risk of losing their jobs.

“We cannot replace valued paid staff with volunteers. They do an amazing job.”

In response council leader Bob Bayford said he could not comment on staff matters but added: “Tourism is an integral part of our ongoing success as a destination. We are currently in the process of reviewing how we will continue to deliver this in the future to ensure this remains a successful part of our local economy.  This is in the wider context of the council facing serious financial pressures.”

Cuts across departments

Cuts are being planned across Thanet council departments -including tourism and operational services  as part of an  ‘efficiencies’ programme.

All department heads at the authority have been told to look at how savings can be made as the council attempts to balance its books and not deplete its reserves.

According to the budget for 2019-20 -which was agreed by a majority at full council on February 28 – proposals are to make £250,000 in organisational efficiencies.

Droit House, as part of the Stone Pier, was compulsorily purchased by the  council in the 1990s. That was followed by renovation.

The Stone Pier was later leased to Margate Harbour Arm Ltd for just £1 per year and Droit House transferred to Kent County Council. The property was then leased back to Thanet council.

Local tourism brings in some 4.2 million visitors with an annual £319 million spend to the Thanet economy each year, supporting 7,950 jobs.

8 Comments

  1. Seems to me…. that with the previous four years of Margate (and Dreamland) becoming one of England’s main tourist attractions… that this idea is a complete and utter stupid step to take. The Tourist team have greeted over 90,000 visitors alone. I wonder (and hope) if this is “fake news” and should be ignored. If it is true, on the other hand, the person responsible for this decision, SHOULD GO!

  2. Can we have the petition details please.
    The Tourism staff are worth their weight in gold to the economy and the businesses engaged in tourism, bringing in revenue for the benefit of all living here.

    • Agree. We should stand up for these staff. I see no mention of cutting the huge salaries of the councils executives. This would go a long way to resolving TDCs financial problems.

  3. How about trimming the senior paid management team. It strikes me that with less staff we can do without the top team. Would save hundreds of thousands which could go back into frontline services.

    • I totally agree. Cut the wages of top management. Too top heavy! To balance books I’m afraid the ‘top brass’ salaries’ need trimming, then we could afford to keep some of the much needed jobs that play such a pivotal role in our tourism economy. Top management too arrogant and consumed with their notion of ‘self- importance’

  4. You mean there are 7 people employed on a full time basis to attract guests from elsewhere? What a waste of public money.

    You’ve got more chance of getting people into Thanet if you offer them a Park & Ride service.

    Every person who got a parking ticket on a sunny day at our lovely seaside, will NOT come again.
    TDC are just on the take & on the make!

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