Plans for a two-year pay freeze for Portsmouth City Council workers are scrapped

Albert and his owner, Stephen Morgan

MP’s labradoodle, Albert, will compete to become Westminster Dog of the Year

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STAFF at Portsmouth City Council will not face a two-year pay increment freeze, it has been announced.

The authority’s employment committee decided to throw out plans to stall increments after it was satisfied by the number of people interested in taking voluntary redundancy.

A consultation was held in December seeking interest from staff wanting to apply for redundancy.

The committee is now satisfied the council will achieve the necessary savings from these applications.

Around £45m needs to be saved by the council by 2015 and its transformation programme is looking at ways it could save up to £31m of the total.

Negotiations and consultations had been carried out with the unions and an agreement has not been reached over compulsory redundancies.

Council leader Cllr Gerald Vernon Jackson said: ‘The council is looking to try to make sure that we achieve a balanced budget.

‘Whilst the average government department is being asked to make a saving of 8.3 per cent over four years, local government is losing 28 per cent of government grant over four years, so we have to look at everything in order to save money.

‘We always said to staff that if we could find a different way around it then we would and I am pleased that people have come forward for voluntary redundancy and the savings we think we can achieve from this means there will not be a freeze on incremental rises for staff this year.’