CONSULTANTS who will be paid £50,000 to help Bolton Council make £63 million in cuts have been chosen.

Capita Consultancy — whose previous clients include the Bank of Ireland, Oldham Council and the Department for Health — has been given the contract, despite opposition from unions who say the council should use its “in-house expertise”.

The Bolton News reported in November how town hall bosses had set aside £50,000 to pay for the consultants to help find millions of pounds worth of savings between 2015 and 2018 — 37 per cent of the current budget.

Sean Harriss, chief executive of Bolton Council, said: “Bolton Council has an unprecedented budget challenge over the next few years and in order to meet this, the council has engaged Capita Consulting to support the council to examine options for alternative service delivery models such as trusts, council companies and joint ventures with the voluntary and private sectors.

“This is to look at whether services and jobs can be better protected through this route.

“The council doesn't have the expertise or capacity to do this solely in-house.”

The London-based company is expected to work with the council over the next 12 months as it bids to make inroads into the cuts .

Unison branch chairman Matt Kilsby said the public services union believe the money could be better spent.

He said: “According to Bolton Council there is insufficient in-house expertise to come up with options for the next round of cuts, hence the need for input from the private sector.

“Last year when this was announced, we were told it would cost £50,000 for phase one and the unions were criticised for talking about the use of consultants.

“Here we are months later and the council has announced that it has appointed Capita Consult-ancy.

“We believe that our criticisms have now been totally vindicated.”