More council job cuts on way

Abbott Bryning
Abbott Bryning

Almost 200 staff posts have been lost at Lancaster City Council since March 2009, with more cuts on the way.

The figures paint a bleak picture for public sector staff in the Lancaster district, as the council expects to reduce its workforce by a further 10 per cent over the next two years.

The council also expects to have to make real cuts to public services in the next two years if it is to balance its books.

Between the end of March 2009 and the end of March 2012 the council’s workforce has reduced by 194, or 197 full time equivalent posts to 807 employees.

In total this is a 21 per cent reduction in staff.

The reduction is made up of redundancies, fixed term contracts ending and not being replaced, resignations where posts are not filled and reductions in staff hours.

It also includes the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) transfer of Revenues staff to Preston City Council.

The city council has been analysing its Local Government Finance Settlement, to determine its impact on the its budget and future service provision, and a report is due to be presented to cabinet on January 22.

Cabinet will then decide what to propose to full council on February 6. The council has had its funding cut by nearly £4m since 2010, with the budget for 2012/13 standing at £20,190,000. The draft budget for 2013/14 is £19,300,000.

The council said a conclusive picture for 2013/14 is still being developed due to changes in the way the government is supporting the council for its services.

However, indicative figures show that the funding will be £170,000 less overall than the originally anticipated £11,581,000 grant for 2013/14.

For 2014/15, government funding is expected to reduce by another £1.6m or around 13 per cent in cash terms.

Coun Abbott Bryning, cabinet member with responsibility for finance, said: “Over the last few years the city council has had to reduce its budget significantly due to the fact that the government has radically cut our funding.

“While we’ve managed to limit the impact on services so far due to careful budgeting, restructuring and sharing services with other councils, we have now reached the point where the government cuts are starting to bite. We’ll have to examine every avenue of what we do and make significant savings.

“This will mean real cuts to services. The council cannot expect to continue to deliver the same range and standard of services that it currently provides and the reason for any cuts is plain and simple – the government’s reduction in the grants it provides us to run our services.”