By Rob George Friday 25 January 2013 Updated: 28/01 10:16
AN EXTRA 650 jobs will be axed by Worcestershire County Council over the next four years in addition to the hundreds of redundancies already announced.
A total of 857 redundancies have already been revealed as part of the council’s efficiency savings programme, which was initially looking to cut £60million from the budget by 2015.
But further government spending cuts have meant the programme has had to be extended and the savings target increased to about the £100million mark, prompting the fresh wave of job losses. Over the next four years the council’s workforce will reduce from 4,500 to 3,000 staff.
The news was revealed in the council’s Corporate Plan for 2013 to 2017 which was debated by councillors last Thursday (January 17).
Council leader Adrian Hardman said: “This won’t be an easy thing for us to do, it won’t be an easy thing for council staff either, but we are determined to protect front-line services while facing up to the financial challenges we face.”
Chief executive Trish Haines said she expected many of the staff to be working in just three or four council owned buildings in the future and a change in the way they provided services.
The Corporate Plan also includes spending £8.5million on faster broadband for the county, rail station improvements, better highways and outsourcing many of the services the council provides.
“Whilst the financial situation is tough for all local authorities and it will continue to be challenging, the county council’s planning and forward-thinking in terms of savings and organisational transformation stand us in good stead for the future,” Coun Hardman added.
“Change is never easy, but if we are an open and transparent council where people understand the reasons why we are doing it, then we will truly move to being the great council for the people of Worcestershire that I aspire us to be.”
The plan was rejected by members of the county council’s Labour group whose leader Coun Peter McDonald accused the authority of not being fit to run the services it provided.
“The fact is when you outsource services for someone else to run, the first thing they look for is profit,” he said.
“If you look closely at the way Worcestershire County Council is spending its money, the majority is going on consultants, that is disgraceful.”
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