Council reveals where axe will fall

A CASH-strapped council has revealed for the first time where it will be shedding up to 30 posts as it strives to make savings in the region of £1.57 million.

By John Howard

A CASH-strapped council has revealed for the first time where it will be shedding up to 30 posts as it strives to make savings in the region of £1.57 million.

Mid Suffolk District Council needs to cut costs to tackle a lower than expected Government grant, and pay for increased recycling obligations, and the likes of rising workloads in benefits and planning.

A spokeswoman for the authority said formal consultation on the loss of up to 30 posts, with staff and the trade union Unison, will start on January 6.

She said: "The impact on staff will be limited by taking a number of vacancies and redeployment opportunities.

"The proposals mainly affect services such as leisure and amenities, ICT and a number of administrative jobs. The aim has been to protect and sustain services that have a direct impact on the public.''

Most Read

It also proposes to freeze councillor allowances and expenses; reduce business grants; restructure all car park tariffs in Stowmarket to produce extra income of £340,000; examine the feasibility of introducing charges at all rural car parks; and reduce the council tax discount on second homes to the minimum 10% allowable.

These measures, if accepted, will reduce the council's expenditure and increase its income. The result will be an average council tax increase in the region of 6%.

Roger Saunders, Conservative leader of the council, said: "From the beginning, our principles have been to reduce the impact on residents and ensure the organisation's future health.

"Staff reductions will mean either losing or lowering levels of service in some areas, but we shall maintain core services and continue to improve them.

"Increasing the council tax to remedy this situation would place an impossible burden on residents. A combination of cost cutting and increasing car-parking charges, where the user pays, means that the burden is shared.''

Andrew Good, Chief Executive, added: "These are very difficult times for local government. There needs to be a radical overhaul of the way local government is funded so that we can get on with the job of supporting the community.''

A spokeswoman for the council said that the magnitude of the task to make such savings, together with limited cost cutting options after years of such exercises, means that fundamental decisions regarding staffing, services and charges for discretionary services have had to be taken.

Unison say some staff have been left shocked by the job losses and there is a fear that they may just be the beginning of further cuts.

A meeting of the authority's Executive Committee on January 5 is set to reaffirm measures to balance the budget for the next financial year.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter