Council to axe 50 jobs

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SCARBOROUGH Council could axe at least 50 jobs in a bid to balance its budget for the next financial year in the wake of the government’s Comprehensive Spending Review.

The authority is having to make reductions in spending across all of its services but Cllr Tom Fox yesterday assured councillors that proposed job losses would not affect frontline services.

He said that the council had to save £2.8 million and the proposals for the 2011 and 2012 budget would be considered by the cabinet next week before being presented to a meeting of the full council next month.

Cllr Fox added: “The implication is a potential of 50-plus job losses and some of those will have to be down to redundancies. All staff have been told, except those who are away.”

It is understood that the job cuts would come into force over the coming months and that some of the affected posts are currently vacant.

The council has been forced to take the action following the Government’s settlement announcements for local authority grant funding last month which will have major implications on its spending and budget setting over the next four years and beyond.

The impact for the council was a reduction in grant funding of 14.6 per cent for the coming financial year and a reduction of 9.2 per cent for 2012 to 2013 – the equivalent of £1.575 million for 2011 to 2012 and £864,000 in 2012 to 2013.

Council chief executive Jim Dillon said: “It is regrettable that the severe nature of the cuts to our grant funding means that we will have to lose a number of posts across the council. We will make every effort to ensure that, where possible, the staff affected will have the opportunity to find alternative employment and full support and guidance will be given to all affected staff.

“Where possible and practicable, re-training and utilising natural wastage will be the first option with compulsory redundancy a last option. In developing proposals to meet the necessary cuts in the next few years, the council will continue to seek to achieve these targets through efficiency savings rather than service cuts and will continue to seek ways of exploring partnership opportunities with other service providers.”

Prior to the announcements, the council’s financial plan assumed annual cuts of 7.4 per cent which were in line with the headline figures set out for local government in the Comprehensive Spending Review and the actual allocations were much worse than anticipated.

In addition to the cuts in Government grant funding, which will have the biggest impact on council finances, a three yearly re-evaluation of the Pension Fund has meant that the council will have to increase the level of employer’s contribution into the fund by around £1 million per year but the increase will be staged over three years with an initial increase of £450,000 for 2011 to 2012.

The draft budget proposals for 2011 to 2012 will be presented to the council’s Cabinet for consideration on 18 January.