Senior Fareham Borough Council employees could face the axe under savings plan

PLEASED TO MAKE SAVINGS Councillor Sean Woodward
PLEASED TO MAKE SAVINGS Councillor Sean Woodward

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SENIOR jobs could be slashed at Fareham Borough Council as it looks to plug a hole in the budget.

Plans have been put forward to axe seven senior management posts as part of a bid to make overall savings of £800,000 by the 2015/2016 financial year.

Three of the positions are currently vacant, and the move – which would be an 18 per cent reduction in the senior team – would save £391,000 annually.

It was just one of the cost-cutting proposals put before the council’s executive at a public meeting last night.

There were no objections to the staff changes, and chief executive officer Peter Grimwood will now make a decision in the next few weeks.

Other savings, which didn’t need further approval, were adopted by executive members.

Sport and leisure management, as part of its new five-year management contract at Fareham Leisure Centre, will pay the council £99,000 a year in return for the authority paying for a £1.5m refurbishment.

The council will no longer pay £10,000 for ‘risk management advice’ and instead set aside £3,000 in case that it is needed in the future.

It was agreed that £5m will be spent buying commercial property, which is expected to generate at least £250,000 in revenue a year.

Commercial sponsorship of floral displays on roundabouts and extra recycling income will generate £30,000 annually.

An extra £23,000 could be found through phasing out some low-priority services.

Councillor Sean Woodward, leader of the council, said he was pleased that he had been able to protect the things people value.

‘I’m delighted that we have saved, over the last few years, £3m from our annual revenue budget, at the same time that the government is reducing our grant by £3m,’ he said.

‘We’ve been able to find these savings while protecting front-line services and we are the only council that is doing that.

‘We’ve frozen council tax for the last six years, so we have one of the lowest council tax amounts in England, despite getting the lowest government grant.’

Cllr Woodward said it was good to see the council making money from commercial investments.

He said cash that already sits in the bank only ends up making 0.5 per cent interest, and the extra revenue will bring in much more.