Hundreds of council jobs cut

NEW figures reveal that hundreds of council jobs were cut in the space of nine months as a result of streamlining services.

The number of full-time members of staff at Hartlepool Borough Council went from 3,826 to 3,577 – a reduction of 249 employees – between January and September last year.

The figures released by the Local Government Association (LGA) also reveal the number of Hartlepool Borough Council employees currently at risk of losing their jobs is 150.

But senior officers have stressed that the current figure of compulsory redundancies for the next financial year is 73, as previously reported.

Hartlepool Borough Council will receive £14.2m less in Government grants for 2011-12 while the local authority has to slash £20m from its £90m budget over the next four years due to national spending cuts.

A council spokesman said: “Financial constraints imposed by central government has resulted in the council having to explore new ways of working and either scaling back or stopping some services altogether.

“We always try wherever possible to maintain front-line services and jobs. But regrettably this hasn’t always been possible.

“For the next financial year we are losing a total of £14.2m in Government grant, which equates to a 19 per cent cut on the previous year.

“Unfortunately, this will result in 73 compulsory redundancies. But we are making every effort to support staff and continue to seek redeployment for them wherever possible.”

The figures show that across the 12 North-East councils, 2,495 jobs were lost between January and September last year.

GMB union bosses say this was due to local authorities freezing posts and accepting volunteers for redundancy in anticipation of the cuts.

Tom Brennan, GMB regional secretary, said, “Councils in the North-East were anticipating the savage cuts in public spending.

“Between them they got rid of nearly 2,500 jobs at the end of the third quarter of 2010.

“As this was before 10,037 job cuts in the pipeline in the region kicks in, it is no wonder that unemployment is so high and that there are so many young people on the dole.

“There is widespread public anger that the Government has put the burden of paying for the ‘bankers’ recession on those who depend on public services and public sector workers.”

Mr Brennan added that people from across the region would be travelling to London this Saturday to demonstrate against the cuts.

Stockton Borough Council, which includes the Billingham area, cut the number of full-time staff by 236 from 6,387 to 6,151 during the same period.

Meanwhile, Durham County Council saw its workforce cut by 680 during the same period from 18,260 members of staff to 17,580.

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