When news happens, text AND and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
County council may have to axe a further 1,800 jobs
8:32am Friday 25th October 2013 in Romsey
HAMPSHIRE County Council could be forced to slash 1,800 more jobs in the latest round of cuts, it was claimed today.
Council chiefs have confirmed their initial targets of £80m in savings will now rise to £90m because of further reductions in government funding.
It means the county’s Tory chiefs are once again looking at voluntary redundancies from its 40,000-strong workforce, despite cutting 1,800 jobs and £130m from the budget in the past two years.
The jobs cull – branded “reckless” by unions – will begin at the end of this month with voluntary redundancy being offered to some staff and all senior managers within the council.
Council leader, Roy Perry, said the intention was to shave a further 10 per cent off the senior management team – on top of the 25 per cent who have already gone.
He was unable to confirm the exact numbers of jobs that would be lost, however UKIP group leader Ray Finch said a senior council officer had confirmed it would be 1,800.
Mr Finch said: “The economy is in a bad way and we do need to look to make savings wherever possible. However, we have looked at the numbers and we do not believe it is in our best interest to cut close to 2,000 jobs.
“These people have built up skills working for the council over the years and once they are gone we will not get them back. The same goes for the services we cut.
“We feel that the people of Hampshire deserve the best services we can possibly give them.”
Mr Finch said UKIP was working on a plan to find the money without cutting jobs and services, but declined to reveal details.
He added: “We believe we have identified areas where we can save jobs and services and still make the savings.”
A cabinet report confirms county leaders will discuss redundancies on Monday.
The report said: “It is anticipated that once again voluntary redundancy exercises will be carried out across most services and by the time cabinet considers this report these initiatives will have begun in different parts of our corporate services activity and is being rolled out across other departments.”
Unions have called for the authority’s £400m+ reserves to be used to avoid the cuts.
Tim Cutter, branch secretary for Hampshire Unison, said : “It would be a reckless move by the council at a time when they have £419m in reserve.
“It would mean the council would not be able to provide frontline services, in my view, for the elderly, vulnerable and other essential services that people really need.” Earlier this year, Roy Perry said £10m has been earmarked in reserves for bigger payouts to staff who take voluntary redundancy.
This is the same sum set aside in 2011-12, when 800 voluntary redundancies were taken and 600 posts frozen.
Comments are closed on this article.