CONSULTANTS have been accused of "milking the country dry" by a leading Worcestershire politician - who says he wants council spending on outside experts culled.

Your Worcester News can reveal how Councillor Peter McDonald, leader of the opposition Labour group at the county council, has attacked the leadership for "overseeing massive staff cuts" while money is handed to external workers.

But his criticism has been rejected by the Conservative cabinet, which claim he is "having a rant" and say he is harming staff morale by being so negative.

As your Worcester News revealed last week, the bill for consultants smashed through the £1 million barrier at County Hall in 2013/14, the third time in five years it has topped a seven-figure sum.

It included £168,000 on IT experts, £18,060 on asking a private firm to look into how Worcestershire can dispose of its household rubbish, and £259,000 on getting advice on a blueprint aimed at saving money, known as Future Fit.

Cllr McDonald said: "I have no idea how this council can claim to be 'Future Fit' when it spent over £1 million on consultants last year.

"How can we really be ready for the future when consultants are milking this county dry?"

He said the spending was bad timing as it has come at a time of staffing cuts, with 1,500 in-house jobs due to be axed within four years.

The leadership is banking on many of the staff transferring to new employers, minimising some of the impact on the economy by handing over 85 per cent of services to new providers.

The attack has been refuted by Councillor John Campion, who sits in the Tory cabinet in charge of the workforce and said his rival was "ranting".

He said: "We employ thousands of people, spend hundreds of millions of pounds and as a result of that we will never do absolutely everything in-house.

"One thing he doesn't seem to understand is that as the organisation changes, we need to take proper advice as we go along and by doing so, I am confident our decisions will stand the test of time.

"It's something that should be celebrated, rather than have this constant chipping away at the officers."