Council jobs may be axed to save money
PUBLISHED: 09:00 30 January 2015
Copyright Archant Ltd
AROUND 100 council jobs could be cut in a bid to save £16million.
Somerset County Council has announced the cost-cutting measures in its 2015/16budget as it will lose about £20million in Government funding compared to the previous year.
The council has plans to freeze council tax for the sixth year in a row.
It says a proposal to lose 100 staff posts through not filling vacancies or compulsory and voluntary redundancies would save about £1.4million.
Most of the job losses would be in back office and admin areas of business support.
The plans will be discussed by councillors tomorrow (Friday) and on February 9.
Other proposals include reducing training and support in nurseries and early years provision, and saving £1million by helping people stay in their homes for longer rather than moving into residential care homes.
Bus routes would also be cut, to save about £600,000 and street lights would be changed to LED lamps to reduce bills and find £175,000.
The council says it will spend more than £300million, including £56million on new roads, school buildings and outlining how spending for vulnerable children will be allocated.
Council leader John Osman said: “There is no doubt that we would rather not be making some of these savings, and if the Government hadn’t reduced our funding by so much we wouldn’t have to.
“I would highlight one area in particular – buses. We are having to look at savings such as stopping our subsidy for Saturday services.
“Where a route is viable for bus operators, they will continue to run their services but on the face of it this looks like a tough decision – that is until you see the extent of some of our bus subsidies.
“It cannot be right that our council tax payers should be forking out more than £7 per person per journey on one route, and similar subsidies on many others.”
Services for adults, costing £86million, and for children, costing £40million, remain the biggest areas of the budget and have been protected.
Cllr Osman said: “We are delighted we will be able to make decisions that will see investment in key areas in Somerset like roads and schools, and to continue with our promise to freeze our part of council tax for a further year.
“We have had to make some very difficult decisions to reflect the fall in Government funding.”