Job cuts at Hampshire County Council set to go ahead

PLAN Cllr Roy Perry, leader of Hampshire County Council
PLAN Cllr Roy Perry, leader of Hampshire County Council

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A WAVE of job cuts at the county council will go ahead as it looks to make a further £90m of savings by 2015.

Hampshire County Council employs around 40,000 people, and will be looking to axe around 1,000 staff.

It hopes to make most of the cuts through voluntary redundancies and by not replacing staff who leave.

It has already made £130m of savings, most of which has come from cutting its staff by around a third, including 18 compulsory redundancies.

A cabinet meeting was held where the future of the council was discussed, and the cuts were agreed.

Executive member for human resources Cllr Stephen Reid said: ‘Change of this magnitude is never easy.

‘There is no magic bullet when you are transforming an organisation as we are.

‘The decisions we are having to make are not easy for us and they are not easy for the staff that are affected but the transformation process is necessary, and there is no getting away from that, if Hampshire is to position itself for the continued pressures that lie ahead.’

He added: ‘The pressure is on this council to run an ever tighter ship.’

Ukip councillor Tony Hooke made a deputation to the cabinet.

He said: ‘The soft underbelly of our council and its workforce has gone.

‘These cuts will take us deeply into the front line services without a doubt.’

Cllr Hooke said that Ukip had formed an ‘historical allegiance’ with Unite, Unison and Labour to work with the council to protect jobs.

He added: ‘I believe there is a much better way of doing things in this council.

‘I urge you to come along with us.’

The Tory-led council dismissed his offer and agreed to press ahead with the job cut plan.

Chairman of the cabinet, Cllr Roy Perry, said: ‘If ever there was an unholy alliance between Ukip, Unite and Labour that seems to be it. The reason we are having make huge cuts to expenditure is that for year after year the Labour party refused to accept reality and carried on spending.’

He paid tribute to the way council staff are handling the cuts and pledged to keep council tax as low as possible.