Town hall jobs axe set to fall on staff

Blackpool Town Hall where jobs are set to be axed.
Blackpool Town Hall where jobs are set to be axed.
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AROUND 50 compulsory redundancies are expected at Blackpool Council in order to help make savings of £14.1m in the next financial year, it has been revealed.

Another 60 voluntary redundancies are anticipated, while an additional 190 posts will be lost through contracts ending, the abolition of vacant roles and natural wastage bringing the total to 300.

It will bring the total number of council posts lost to almost 1,100 in just three years.

Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn said: “The last thing I want to do is reduce services and make staff redundant but unfortunately, thanks to the Government’s failed austerity policies, I’ve been left with no choice.

“This budget is focused on what Blackpool residents tell us they want – cleaner streets, safer neighbourhoods, support for local businesses, support for vulnerable children and families.

“Blackpool is full of hard working families that struggle to make ends meet. This council aims to help those families improve their lives whether it be through free breakfasts, the living wage or improved housing.”

The town hall’s portion of the council tax, by far the largest element, will be frozen for the third consecutive year – although final bills could still rise if the police or fire service raise their precepts.

In Blackpool, householders living in Band D properties, taken as the average, pay £1,516 a year.

The council announced last November it expected to shed 300 jobs in this round of cuts.

The executive committee will meet on Wednesday to begin the process of setting the budget for 2013/14, and are proposing total spending of just over £150m.

This is actually an increase on last year’s budget of £145m, because a number of previously separate grants, such as nearly £5m for health reforms, have now been rolled into the overall spending,

Tory opposition leader Coun Tony Williams said he believed job losses could have been prevented.

He added: “This particular the council is spending vast amounts of money on what I consider non-essential items at this time.

“Why is the council spending £2.6m on free breakfasts which could have been phased in over three years, and we have agreed another £500,000 to fund social workers due to an ever increasing number of children in care, but I’m not convinced we are getting to the root cause of this.”

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