Taxpayers are footing the bill for Staffordshire County Council employees to take an “unacceptable” number of sick days, it was claimed.

Conservative councillors in Staffordshire have hit out at the Labour-run council for “sitting on their collective hands” as local authority workers take a “worrying” number of days off due to ill-health.

Opposition councillors claim the average council employee in the county takes between 10 and 11 days off sick each year, at an annual cost of £22.5 million to the taxpayer.This means that on an average working day there are almost 900 council workers absent through sickness, the Conservative group claims.

County councillor Philip Atkins, leader of the Conservative group, said: “These shocking and startling figures mean that every council taxpayer in Staffordshire is paying nearly £30 per head towards funding this very worrying level of absence.”