Threat to 2,500 county council jobs in cutbacks

County Hall, Preston
County Hall, Preston

About 2,500 Lancashire County Council jobs could go as County Hall tries to make £300 million worth of cuts a year.

Councillors say they want to avoid compulsory job losses, but workers are likely to be asked to consider voluntary redundancy.

A proposal that would reduce the workforce by around 2,500 full-time posts by April, 2016, is going to the council’s cabinet tomorrow.

The county council 
employs around 34,500 people, but most jobs are funded through the ring-fenced schools budget, so the cuts affect its non-schools workforce of around 13,000.

The leader of the council, County Coun. Jennifer Mein, said: “This is the harsh reality of the cuts being imposed by Government.

“The council simply cannot make these savings without significant reductions, both in the services it provides to local communities and in the number of people it employs to deliver those services.

“These are decisions we would rather not have to make, but I am determined to lead the council through this period in a way that makes the changes as fair as possible to the public and employees alike.”

County Coun. David Borrow, deputy leader and 
portfolio holder for finance, said: “Our priorities will remain to protect vulnerable people and promote economic growth, but there is no doubt this will be a very different and much smaller organisation in a few years’ time.”

The council is asking for views on a proposed 1.99% increase in council tax for the coming financial year.

County Coun. Mein said: “It means 41.5p per week more for a band D property ,but would bring in an extra £7.3 million a year for the council which could pay for 180 children’s social workers or the repair of nearly 300,000 potholes.”