The image portrayed by campaigners of a self-sustaining Botton that is being destroyed by an uncaring management system has been damaged after the Gazette uncovered figures relating to the cost of running the village.
Co-workers arguing against changes imposed by Camphill Village Trust have portrayed an image of a shared community where carers work for little more than bed and board.
In fact, the Gazette has discovered that the average cost to the charity for a co-worker at Botton, of which there are 34, stands at £32,000. The least amount is £15,000, while the highest paid co-worker receives over £60,000 each year.
This sum takes into account food, paid-for holidays and private accommodation for children. Co-workers also live rent-free on the site.
Campaign group Action for Botton is protesting against changes in the way Botton is operated that would require the co-workers to become registered employees, like the 56 existing paid employees at the village, 35 of whom are carers.
Mr Goodwill met with the activists and said: “I get the impression that although the co-workers say they are cheap and cost-effective, they are probably not.
“It is all very socialist and collective, but at the end of the day someone has to pay for it.”
In its most basic form, Botton Village is a local government care contractor and receives £1.4 million from North Yorkshire County Council each year. The village receives £400,000 from other local authorities and £600,000 in housing benefits.
There is also the estimated £1 million received each year from charitable donations and legacies.
With 130 villagers in Botton, that means it costs over £23,000 to care for each resident.
As the majority of this is drawn directly from the tax payer, the county council has a responsibility to ensure it is getting good value for money.
Mr Goodwill added: “This idea of a cost-effective service is wide of the mark given that in other locations where this sort of care is being delivered, people are working on the minimum wage.
“You could provide those services much more cheaply in a former guest house in Scarborough.”
Camphill Village Trust confirmed that without donations and legacies, the village would be running at a loss.
This worry has also been compounded by the fact retired co-workers are allowed to remain on the site and receive a steady pension, amounting to £18,250 each year.
Couples receive £28,400 and Mr Goodwill said that if he was a resident of the village, he would be concerned about whether this practice was sustainable.
County council donations are prioritised based upon the needs of those receiving it. On the whole, the villagers at Botton are relatively high performing, and so there is a feeling that the money may be better spent on those with more severe disabilities.