Plymouth City Council to axe 100 jobs
THE council is to cut 100 jobs as part of a bid to plug a £3.2million hole in its budget.
The 3,200 town hall staff are being offered the chance to take voluntary redundancy.
But if there are not enough volunteers by Christmas "then reluctantly we'll have to go on to make compulsory redundancies", Cllr Mark Lowry, the city's Cabinet member for finance, said yesterday.
And in the new year Cllr Lowry will launch a senior management restructuring aimed at cutting another £1million from the council's wage bill.
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The £3.2million shortfall is on top of £30million the council has to cut from its budget over three years.
"The scale of the cuts we are facing means it is not possible to rule out compulsory redundancies or having to take very tough decisions about the future of our services," Mr Lowry added.
"The public will inevitably see a deterioration in the services they receive. You can't cut by 40per cent and expect exactly the same level of services."
The job losses will come on top of a five per cent cut over the past 12 months, which saw the workforce cut by 195.
The previous year 240 people left.
The council now employs just over 3,200, not including school staff.
The redundancy packages on the table are the legal minimum, based on length of service, salary and age. The maximum pay-off is capped at £12,900. The council is in consultation with unions.
"We are also in the process of reducing senior management to save nearly £1million a year," Cllr Lowry said.
A management reduction exercise will start in the new year.
Cllr Lowry warned that a reduction in the level of service from the council was inevitable.
"I am getting it down now because otherwise all you are doing is putting off the problem.
"This needs to be done to secure the future of the council and the city."
He said that 60 per cent of the council's spending went in wages.
"You can't cut the budget by 40per cent and expect not to have to make people redundant.
"Now I have had the opportunity to understand the budget and the scale of the cuts I want to tell people the truth."
Cllr Lowry said: "The Government's cuts to local government are beginning to bite more deeply.
"We are having to take immediate action to deal with the impact, at the same time as we are dealing with a big rise in demand for services from some of the city's most vulnerable residents.
"Every department will need to look at service levels and tighten its belt," he said.
Cllr Lowry refused to be drawn on whether council tax would go up next year.
Cllr Ian Bowyer, the Conservative finance spokesman, said: "I am disappointed that it's necessary to shed more jobs.
"I thought we already had a robust plan in place to reduce about 500 jobs.
"But there are some hard, unpalatable truths the council has to face up to.
"Labour has had a honeymoon period since May but it can't last forever."