Essex County Council has backed its decision to spend over £400k on private healthcare to attract ‘high quality’ workers. Figures show that in the current financial year, 255 managers from the council received private health – at a cost of £372,291.70 to the taxpayer. Additionally, the council also has to pay an annual insurance premium tax relating to the health care, which costs £38,614. It means the council has spent £410,905 on providing private health care for staff. Nevertheless, Essex County Council has defended its considerable payment on private healthcare – insisting it is a small amount of the annual budget.