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Pay freeze plan for town hall staff to go ahead

Blackpool Town Hall

Blackpool Town Hall

Controversial plans to freeze pay for all Blackpool Council staff are set to go ahead as part of a drive to shave £1.6m from the budget.

Following pressure from trade unions, councillors voted on revised plans that would see a proposed freeze on pay increments for some staff shelved, in favour of a scheme that affects all employees equally.

The pay freeze, meaning staff will lose a one per cent rise agreed nationally, is less cost effective and leaves a £600,000 gap in the budget.

A report to members of the council’s executive committee, which met on Monday and approved its recommendations, said a further £150,000 will be saved by restructuring its management roles.

Speaking after the meeting, leader Simon Blackburn said the council had no choice but to face up to the “savage” cuts being imposed on local government.

He said: “Following further consultation with staff and trade unions, we have identified an alternative approach to a small percentage of these savings that we believe will be slightly more palatable.

“But these cuts have to be made – we can debate how they are made, but not whether to cut at all.

“It is something we would rather not be doing because it is counter-productive. A future government will have to put all this funding back. The money will end up being spent because the consequences will be huge in the future.”

Consultation over the changes to staffing arrangements is on-going as part of the council’s aim to minimise redundancies.

Originally, it was proposed to save £1.6m by freezing pay increments, due to some employees who have been in the job for a long time.

However, trade unions opposed the measures saying it did not affect all staff equally.

The pay freeze will save around £1m from the budget, with another £150,000 resulting from the shake-up of senior management that will see some roles axed.

The remaining £450,000 will come from “procurement savings” that are still to be finalised and agreed.

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