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Golden goodbye sparks anger

A city council engaged in a legal battle to claw back Pounds 2 million from two colleges has sparked outrage by awarding its finance chief a projected Pounds 400,000 early retirement pay-off.

News that Birmingham City Council finance director Roger Burton will receive a Pounds 104,000 lump sum and Pounds 34,600-a-year when he retires shortly from his Pounds 75,000 job has led to sharp criticism from Birmingham College of Food principal Eddie McIntyre.

The Birmingham college and Sutton Coldfield College have been involved in a two-year legal fight over the authority's claim that they owe more than Pounds 2 million run up before incorporation.

The colleges deny any debt, and say that the council failed to pay them millions in European Social Fund Grants. Their case is being considered in the House of Lords.

A council spokeswoman said: "You have to see the early retirement package as part of working for local government in Birmingham."

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