Derbyshire County Council to cut 1,600 jobs

Derbyshire County Council offices About 1,600 people will lose their job as County Hall looks to save £157m

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Derbyshire County Council is to cut 1,600 jobs in a bid to help save £157m over the next five years.

It is the equivalent of 840 full-time posts, according to the Labour-run authority.

Council leader Anne Western blamed the coalition government for the "devastating" cuts.

Increased charges for services, the sharing of resources, and the possible closure of some centres are also being considered.

Ms Western said: "This is an impossible situation forced upon us by the coalition government. We are faced with making devastating cuts to our services.

Analysis

The authority has got to find £157m worth of savings between now and 2018. To give you an idea of the scale of those cuts, the annual budget of the council for this year is £533m, so £157m is 32% of the annual budget.

Job cuts are part of the answer. The job cuts we're looking at now are around 1,600 posts, which equates to about 840 full-time equivalent jobs. That's because a lot of the 16,000 staff the council employs are part-time. It's got over 8,500 staff excluding schools and these cuts work out at about 10%.

The council says it will try to cut staff by "natural wastage" - through voluntary redundancies and by not filling posts when they become vacant. They didn't, however, rule out compulsory redundancies.

Wages are the biggest cost for the council but at the end of the day we are also going to see a change in services in the future.

You can guarantee we are going to be talking about Derbyshire's public services and how to pay for them for a long time to come.

"Local government is being unfairly targeted and is being told to take a bigger share of cuts than any other public service.

"Important local services will be lost as a direct result of these cuts and £157m will be taken out of the local economy."

£10.5m shortfall

Not including education, the council has 15,446 posts, including full and part-time positions, with some people holding more than one job.

Plans for the cuts were announced following the publication of a financial report for next week's cabinet meeting.

In it, director of finance Peter Handford identified a £10.5m shortfall in this year's plan, agreed by the previous Conservative-run council in February.

This will mean it will have to make £47.2m savings next year.

A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman said necessary funding cuts were being shared by all authorities.

Bank balance

He added: "This government's carefully considered reforms are helping councils achieve greater financial independence and deliver sensible savings while protecting frontline services.

"There is more councils can do such as recover the £2bn a year of uncollected council tax, reduce the £2bn lost to fraud and error and utilise the £16bn sitting in reserves."

The department said its figures showed Derbyshire County Council had more than £214m in its reserves,

Once the proposal has been considered by the cabinet it will go before the full council the next day.

In August, the council joined with other local authorities in the county demanding a meeting with Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, but they said he refused.

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