Essex

Southend care jobs threat as council plans £7.6m cuts

Care jobs are at risk at an Essex council facing government grant cuts of £7.6m in 2014/15.

Southend Borough Council said 49.5 "equivalent posts" were earmarked for closure but only 26 were occupied and people would be redeployed if possible.

The Unison union claims more than 100 posts could be lost in care services and a housing association that looks after sheltered housing and hostels.

The council said significant savings were needed to balance budgets.

Housing association South Essex Homes said its management fee had been cut and that would certainly mean job losses.

It now has to save more than £250,000 so 60 jobs are under threat in its 21 sheltered housing schemes and eight hostels.

Redeployment opportunities

The union said: "Placements in homeless hostels have increased to 218 in 2013 compared to only 187 in 2011."

Hostel managers are to be cut from eight to five which is a "short-sighted measure given the expected increase in homelessness", the union claims.

South Essex Homes said most staff would be redeployed and it is restructuring the way it delivers services.

Southend Borough Council is also investigating a range of possible redeployment opportunities to keep the number of compulsory redundancies to a minimum.

A spokesman said cuts are in a consultation phase and nothing was yet set in stone.

"The need to make significant savings in the face of reductions in government grants of £7.6m in the next financial year and still be able to present a balanced budget will inevitably lead to some job losses.

"Meanwhile we're investigating a range of possible redeployment opportunities."

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