York & North Yorkshire

Jobs and budgets purge across North Yorkshire

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Image caption Budgets are being cut across the county

Millions of pounds of cuts to jobs and services have been announced by councils and police in North Yorkshire.

The county council said it would have to cut hundreds of jobs and close care homes to save £69m over the next four years.

At the City of York Council officials are planning to make £21m of savings within 12 months.

The county's police force is to lose up to 350 staff and 10 police officer jobs in the next year.

North Yorkshire County Council's chief executive Richard Flinton said the authority had to save £37m in the next financial year.

The authority has proposed to close nine elderly people's homes, shed 330 jobs from the council, cut £3m from the highways maintenance budget and cut grants to the county's theatres.

Mr Flinton said that more than half the cuts were planned to come from non-frontline areas.

He said the aim was to protect the most vulnerable. However, he added: "The sheer scale means not all the time they had wanted to plan in a more considered way for the cuts."

Wendy Nichols, Unison branch secretary for North Yorkshire County Council said she was sure it "was not where the authority wanted to be" in making these cuts.

She said: "There is only so much you can cut from behind the scenes and if some of these proposals go through, there will be cuts to frontline services such as libraries and looking after elderly people."

She added that she believed the number of job losses could also increase.

'Difficult budget'

Meanwhile, the City of York Council's chief executive Kersten Young said the city faced "the most difficult budget in history."

The authority envisaged saving £21m in the next financial year with 170 jobs going in that period and 650 posts being shed over four years.

Staff wages would not be increased in the coming year and an undisclosed number of management jobs would be shed.

Ms Young added that core services to the vulnerable, both young and old, would be protected and no social worker posts would go.

Both county council and City of York officials said council tax levels could be frozen with grants from the government of 2.5% to fund services.

The York branch of union Unison was considering its response to the announcements.

North Yorkshire Police Authority revealed its budget of £140.5m for 2011/12.

Between 300 and 350 staff posts would go in the coming financial year and 10 police officer jobs would be lost through natural wastage.

Authority chairman Jane Kenyon said staff cuts were "very sad" but there was "no option in order to balance the books".

The North Yorkshire branch of the Police Federation which represents rank and file officers was contacted for a response.

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