Redundancies update as Hartlepool council plans 2022 budget savings

Council chiefs in Hartlepool have outlined plans to provide a balanced budget for next year which is set to include "two or three compulsory redundancies".

Tuesday, 14th December 2021, 4:01 pm

It comes after earlier this year a core council tax rise of 1.9%, along with a 3% increase in the adult social care precept, was approved for 2022-23.

Just over £2.6million of savings for 2022-23 were presented to the council’s finance and policy committee on Monday, December 13, which will now go before full council on Thursday.

This includes £762,000 in income and grant flexibilities, £395,000 in terms and conditions changes, £733,000 in other service changes and £739,000 in reductions and staffing efficiencies.

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Hartlepool Borough Council has provided an update on compulsory and voluntary redundancies ahead of the 2022-23 financial year.

Chris Little, director of resources and development, outlined how staff have been consulted and there are set to be “two or three compulsory redundancies”.

He said: “We’d all like to have none but that’s a far better place than we thought we’d be in.”

He added a number have also requested voluntary redundancy.

Councillors stressed how the majority of the budget, around 65%, goes on providing care across children and adults services.

The Labour group leader on Hartlepool Borough Council, Councillor Brenda Harrison, said: "I think that who needs to apologise is national Government."

Independent Cllr Sue Little said: “We’re not doing this out of spite, we’re doing it because we owe our vulnerable people a lot.”

Cllr Jim Lindridge added: “I want to apologise to the residents of the town for the savings we’re having to make, but frustratingly our hands are tied.

“We’re trying to keep service cuts to a minimum and keep redundancies to a minimum and do our best.”

Labour’s Cllr Brenda Harrison said years of cuts to council budgets from Government are to blame for the financial challenges.

She said: “I think that who needs to apologise is national Government and I don’t think we should let them get away with us taking the blunt of the blame for what’s actually happening.”

Officers said the council is facing an approximate £7million deficit for the next three years, with reserves being used to evenly phase savings over this period, starting with the £2.6million needed in 2022-23.

Mr Little added that, although there are a “lot of challenges ahead”, they have made “good progress”.