Further cuts put jobs and services at risk

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One thousand six hundred jobs are to be axed at Derbyshire County Council bears the brunt of ‘devastating’ £10million spending cuts.

The authority has announced it has to cut 10 per cent of its workforce, excluding schools, to make up for the deficit.

A report is due to be discussed at a Derbyshire County Council meeting next week outlining the financial situation.

This follows the announcement that the authority faces another £30million in spending cuts, making the total amount it needs to save over the next five years £157million.

Chief executive Ian Stephenson said: “Given the scale of the cuts we aren’t going to be able to protect services. In living memory I can’t remember anything like this, not since the great depression.”

Leader Councillor Anne Western added: “Local government is being unfairly targeted and is being told to take a bigger share of cuts than any other public service.

“Important local services will be lost as a direct result of these cuts and £157 million will be taken out of the local economy.”

The council announced there has been a shortfall in the current year’s spending plans agreed in February of £10.5million – increasing the savings required for 2014/15 to £47.2 million.

The council’s cabinet will be asked to reaffirm cuts planned to balance the books for the current year and to consider new proposals to meet the shortfall including widespread reductions in management, back office and accommodation costs affecting all services.

It will also be asked to consider increased charges for services, consultations on the closure of some centres and shorter opening hours, as well as consultations on ending subsidies to some services, reducing grants to voluntary organisations and cutting back on training and care thresholds.

In addition, the report identifies a range of other measures in an attempt to minimise the impact on services including vacancy controls maximising income and securing new grants, sharing services with other councils and public services, disposing of buildings and integrating health and social care priorities.

Cllr Western said she and the leaders of the county’s city and five district and borough councils would continue to press the Government for a fairer deal for the county.

If approved by cabinet, the authority’s budget will be considered by full council at its meeting on October 2.