There has been an angry reaction to news Cornwall Council is to spend nearly £20,000 on creating a new job role to oversee the passage of the Olympic Torch through the county next spring.

The authority has advertised for a project officer to oversee the 84 mile trip from Land's End to the Tamar Bridge on May 19, 2012.

The successful candidate will be paid £19,689, and will be in the role from October to May.

Critics have slammed the new role as 'needless', saying existing staff members could easily look after the project.

However, the Cornwall Development Company, the council offshoot responsible for the creation of the role, has defended the appointment, saying the relay will boost the local economy by at least £1 million.

Robert Oxley, campaign manager of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "Local taxpayers will be staggered that Cornwall Council plans to spend so much of their money needlessly planning for one part of one day of the Olympics.

"Existing members of staff at the council should have been able to deliver an excellent day for the torch's visit, it's not much extra work.

“Times are tough for many families and they expect their council to try to make savings, not needlessly recruit extra employees."

Malcolm Bell, head of Visit Cornwall, hit back, and claimed the torch relay could bring as much as £7 million into the county thanks to an influx of visitors.