Hundreds face sack in North Lincolnshire Council budget squeeze

Hundreds of jobs will be lost over the next four years as North Lincolnshire Council faces "substantial budget cuts" the authority's documents show.

Over four years 204 full-time equivalent posts would go, with the union Unison saying this meant 250 people losing their jobs.

The union said 120 jobs had already been lost and did not want more cuts.

Cabinet member Rob Waltham said any job cuts were "regrettable" and management posts would being targeted.

The council, which has 23 Conservatives and 20 Labour members, voted through the 2014-15 budget on Tuesday.

The authority said it would freeze council tax bills for the coming year, but increases of up to 1.9% were planned for the future.

The authority's budget for 2014-15 is £197.3m.

Councillors' allowances, 60 management posts and staffing had been cut to make savings senior Tory Mr Waltham said.

He said: "Any job loss is regrettable, but by cutting senior posts first we're trying to protect front line posts.

"We would always go to [cut] jobs with salaries over £50,000 first."

'Scale of cuts'

However, further cuts may be needed with councillors being warned in the budget papers: "The scale of budget cuts is substantial despite growth in local resources."

The document showed that "strategic saving proposals" included using £5m of reserves to save on borrowing costs.

It said there would be a reassessment of rolling programmes of capital investment and a review of staff terms and conditions.

Officers said the budget plan expected an increase of £8.1m from business rates and council tax by 2017-18 with "modest" tax increases of 1.75%; 1.9% and 1.9% following this year's freeze.

The council has pledged to spend £4.9m on flood defence schemes along the Trent and Humber, along with a £3m new sports centre for Crowle.

Parking in council-run car parks will be free of charge for the first two hours and no charges will apply on Saturdays.

Responding to the council's budget plan, Mervyn White of Unison, said: "We have seen in the last two years a massive reduction in senior and middle management.

"This has resulted in loss of valuable experience and this is beginning to create serious capacity issues."

He said 120 staff were lost in 2013-14 and another 250 were proposed to be lost over the next four years.

The Labour group had proposed a zero-increase council tax budget but said it "would invest in town centres across the area".

The Labour leader Mark Kirk said his group's proposal included putting money to South Leys Campus, more into Westcliffe Regeneration, The Ashby Ponds, Burringham Village Bypass, Healey Road play area improvement, roads and pavements, flood prevention and elderly and respite care.

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