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Job losses at Hampshire County Council

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Hampshire County Council proposes axing 1,200 jobs as part of measures to save £55m

HAMPSHIRE County Council is proposing to axe 1,200 jobs, as part of measures designed to slash £55m from budgets from April.

In a statement released yesterday (Wednesday, January 19), the council revealed a budget shortfall of £55m for the financial year 2011/12, with an eight per cent cut in full-time staff part of proposed measures drawn up to meet the shortfall.

The figure includes posts which are already vacant, with a recruitment freeze to be applied during the year.

For the remaining posts, the council has said it is looking to “minimise” compulsory job losses through its voluntary redundancy scheme.

Of the council's plans to reduce the pay bill, council leader, Ken Thornber (Con Brockenhurst) said: “We have tried to do this in a way that minimises job losses and we hope, where possible, to achieve this through voluntary measures, but sadly there will be some staff who will face compulsory redundancy and we will do what we can to help them in terms of finding future employment and financial planning.”

The council has put the budget shortfall down to a reduction of £30.9m in government grants and additional cuts in area based and specific grants for 2011/12 of £14.8m, with further grant cuts in years to follow.

Other savings will include cutting communications, support and IT costs by around £1m each, renegotiating contracts to secure better deals, saving in the region of £10m, cutting senior management costs by 25 per cent to deliver a saving of over £7m and implementing a recruitment freeze and restructuring the authority, saving around £4m.

Savings proposals include: a reduction in subsidies to commercial bus operators to run less used services; prioritisation of grants to external organisations; mobile library service efficiencies; further streamlining of the youth support service and development of a targeted youth support service for the most vulnerable children, including care leavers, homeless young people and young offenders and; development of adult social care support, such as extra care housing, shared lives carers and personalised budgets.

Council tax is to be frozen from April and each council service has been asked how it will reduce costs by eight per cent, with these proposals to be considered by the council's cabinet on February 11 and then the full council on February 24.

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