Beds, Herts & Bucks

Bedford council reveals 200 jobs cut plan to save £10m

Bedford Borough Council has said it plans to cut 200 posts to try to save £10m.

The local authority said it faced "tough decisions" following cuts in government funding.

It plans to protect frontline services by doing things more efficiently, including by losing posts across the authority, a spokesman said.

Staff benefits would be reduced and some leisure facilities would close earlier during quiet times.

As part of this process the council is set to lose almost 200 posts across the organisation, rationalise services, closing some leisure facilities earlier during quiet times and reducing benefits for staff.

The council said it would begin a public consultation once the proposals have been considered.

Mayor of Bedford Dave Hodgson said: "These are tough financial times for the country and we have tough decisions to make to provide a balanced budget.

"We are working towards a freeze in council tax while at the same time continuing to invest in services that are the priorities of our residents."

Early announcement

Michael Headley, portfolio holder for finance and asset management, said: "The majority of these savings have been found by creating new ways of working that don't affect frontline services, like merging systems in our HR and Payroll sections and saving £260,000 from updating and improving our waste and recycling collection routes.

"We are amongst the first councils in the country to announce its proposals so that there can be a full and open consultation with local residents."

The council said it had also identified making savings of £400,000 by managing its debts differently; £500,000 by concentrating its youth support services towards the most in need, and £500,000 by closing the "unsustainable" Foxgloves Respite Home.

It would also save £1m by negotiating long-term care contracts, it said.

The proposals will be considered by the council's executive on 15 September and the budget for 2011/12 at its full council meeting in February 2011.

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