LOCAL government administrations employ a “very high” number of civil servants, so there is the possibility that new technology could soon be doing the work of some of these people, Ramon Socias, Central Government delegate in the Balearics said yesterday.

Speaking on town hall cash crises in the context of deficit-reducing austerity measures soon to be introduced by Central Government, Socias said that one of the highest costs facing local councils is their monthly wage bill.

The delegate admitted that addressing the restructuring of regional government financing was long overdue. Councils have had to assume payment for services which it was not really their responsibility to provide but have gone ahead and done so because of their commitment to the municipalities they represent. Socias observed however, that councils have “often” spent money when they should in fact have been making an attempt to save it.

The delegate said, no-one likes having their salary cut but that he was just as much in the firing line as anybody else, and that despite Union defiance, the population at large is “very much in sympathy” with Central Government.

In response to threats by some local councillors saying they would return the keys to the town hall if job cuts and salary reductions went ahead, Socias said: “Then return them.”