600 jobs could go at Cumbria County Council as it bids to save £80m over three years (From The Westmorland Gazette)
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600 jobs could go at Cumbria County Council as it bids to save £80m over three years
SIX hundred jobs could be axed at Cumbria County Council as it bids to make 'unprecedented' savings of £80m over the next three years.
The news comes as the county council unveiled plans to make £24.4m savings in the next financial year.
Reductions in central government funding mean the county council has to cut £80m over the next three years - on top of £88m saved since 2011.
Members of the cabinet this morning approved the 35 proposals in the ‘Our Area, Our Future’ budget consultation document.
"The organisation is going to be smaller as it concentrates on its core priorities and we will be supporting our staff through a difficult period of change and using voluntary redundancy wherever possible," said Coun Stephenson, the council's deputy leader and cabinet member responsible for resources.
"But not all of the savings propositions can be internal efficiencies, and spending reductions of this scale will inevitably have some impact on service users.
"We have done all we can to minimise the impact of these and ensure no one section of Cumbrian society is treated unduly harshly or unfairly."
Among the proposals include introduction of on-street parking charges, charging for parking permits, cuts to the fire service and looking at dimming street lights to save energy.
A two percent increase in council tax is also being considered.
Coun Stephenson added the amount needed to save was 'unprecedented in living memory'.
"The government is taking a big bite out of our budget as part of its efforts to balance the nation’s books," he said.
"The reduction in funding to local authorities means we will have one pound in every four less to spend by 2017.
"The savings propositions outlined in this consultation get us half way there in terms of delivering the next £80m we need to find. Even if we deliver every single saving outlined in this consultation, there is still an identified savings gap of just over £40m by 2017. Therefore we will have to be even more efficient, creative and focused on core priorities in 2015/16 and 2016/17."
The proposals will now go to public consultation with views welcome until January 20. The final decision on the proposals will be made in February 2014.
The full list of propositions and overview of the Our Area, Our Future consultation is available at www.cumbria.gov.uk/ourfuture,
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