Seventy four library workers take redundancy as council looks to save millions

Hampshire County Council leader Roy Perry
Hampshire County Council leader Roy Perry
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SCORES of public sector workers have opted to take voluntary redundancy as a council looks to save £98m.

Around £2.7m-worth of savings across a range of departments at Hampshire County Council will be made after employees have chosen to take redundancy.

Among the biggest areas affected is libraries – with 74 staff choosing to take redundancy.

The majority are frontline library assistant staff. The cut to the library wage bill is set to save the council £947,000.

The Winchester-based authority, which covers Havant, East Hampshire, Fareham, and Gosport, is set to launch a strategy to ‘modernise’ the library service in November.

A report, due to go before the authority’s leader Councillor Roy Perry on Monday, states there would be a one-off investment to develop ‘self-service opportunities in larger libraries’.

Meanwhile, the authority plans to reshape its Trading Standards service following £300,000-worth of savings coming from voluntary redundancies.

Savings of £360,000 are being made to its Hantsdirect customer service branch, with a reduction in around 20 full-time equivalent staff being planned.

It is also proposed to end the production of the publication Hampshire Now, saving the authority £200,000.

By 2017/2018, it is proposed that councillors will get £5,000 per annum to spend on local community projects of their choice – rather than the current £8,000.

While many community grants have been maintained to venues such as The Spring in Havant, some smaller grants have been scrapped.

Denmead Community Centre got £1,925 from the council, but there is set to be no grant next year.

Venues such as Staunton Country Park in Havant are working towards becoming completely self-financing.

Councillor Roy Perry, leader, said: ‘While the majority of our revenue savings have to come from the core services where we spend the most money, community facilities such as our libraries, Trading Standards and outdoor attractions are also required to transform and modernise.’