A TORY-RUN council threatening to cut services to the bare minimum is splashing out £42,000 on a lobbyist and has seven staff earning more than £120,000.

We reported yesterday that East Sussex County Council could face bankruptcy in three years unless it makes further big cuts.

But today we can reveal that it is recruiting a lobbying and engagement manager on a salary of £42,651.

On top of that, chief executive Becky Shaw earns £224,732 and six senior managers earn more than £120,000.

Council leader Keith Glazier has defended the decision to recruit the lobbyist.

He said: “The people criticising us are the same ones who say we aren’t doing enough lobbying.

“There are two clear choices. Either we bury our heads in the sand or we make decisions which make positive contributions going forward.”

Cllr Glazier also insisted the high salaries were justified. He said: “We are one of the best-run councils in the country.

“Do residents want us to run the council with monkeys?

“Between now and 2021 we have to save another £46 million and we need the best possible staff to take us through that process.

“There is a national pay grade that applies to council workers and now is not the time to disrupt this well-run organisation.

“We have taken away all the immediate savings that we can as a county council.”

Cllr Glazier said he would continue demanding more funding from central Government.

He is hopeful a fairer funding review will bring about change and said Brexit had caused delays at central Government.

Meanwhile, Lib Dem opposition leader Councillor David Tutt said recruiting a “spin doctor is disgraceful”.

Cllr Tutt said: “The Tories have kept very quiet about this. Not a word has been said to us.

“This is outrageous and the £42,000 should be put into frontline services instead.

“The county council is far too top heavy on management, despite reductions it has already made.

“Make no mistake, the Tories are in dire straits.”

Eastbourne’s Lib Dem MP Stephen Lloyd said it was “an utterly dire situation”.

He said: “County Hall has totally failed to take the necessary steps which we’ve done in Eastbourne over the last few years so they’re now totally dependent on central Government to bail them, and us, out of the hole they’ve dug for themselves.

“Bluntly, if a Tory county council can’t get the money needed from a Tory government, what’s the point of them?”

Labour councillor Godfrey Daniel said the council needed to make it clear to residents that cuts to services “resulted from central government policy”.

He said: “I accept this council is not a shambles but I have to say the Government is. Day by day we see the Government falling apart and I can only hope there is a general election soon.

“Otherwise there is no hope for local services, there is no hope for local councils and there is no hope for local people.”