MORE than 180 jobs are likely to be lost in Hamp-shire County Council’s children’s services in the face of Government grant cuts brought in to help redress the national deficit.

The children’s services department has estimated that it needs to reduce its budget by about £24m from April 2011 with £6m coming out immediately.

The department has a total annual budget of around £170m not including the schools’ budgets. The savings will be found by streamlining services and making efficiency savings in line with the framework established by the Cabinet on Monday, which is designed to prepare the authority for the public spending cuts of 25 per cent over the next four years signalled in the Government’s Emergency Budget last month.

Around 185 full-time equivalent posts are likely to go in a restructure, about 46 of which would be senior management.

This represents more than 22 per cent of management posts within the department. Cllr David Kirk, executive lead member for children’s services, said: “We face unprecedented financial challenges as a result of spending cuts and are having to make extremely difficult choices. “Along with the requirement to make significant savings we must balance the need to ensure we continue to deliver high quality services, to keep children and young people in Hampshire safe, and to maintain a vibrant educational system.

“It is inevitable we will have to make cuts to posts across the department. Where possible this will be done by robust vacancy management. Com-pulsory redundancy will be a last resort.”