Senior jobs could be axed to save Fareham Borough Council thousands

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TOP jobs could be axed at Fareham’s council in a bid to plug an £800,000 gaping hole in its budget.

Six head of department roles will be merged into three and one is set to be cut completely, saving the council £323,000 each year.

It will leave six top officers bidding to get three jobs.

As reported, the borough authority announced it needs to find £800,000 as its grant from government was cut.

It reduced from £6.2m in 2010 to £4m in 2013. In the next two years it is expected to further reduce by £1m.

Conservative leader of the council Councillor Sean Woodward said: ‘We’ve lost half of our government grant and we’ve obviously frozen council tax, or we will have done, for six years.

‘So we don’t have the income coming in anymore.

‘Rates of interest have dropped hugely, we used to earn £1.5m from our investments and that’s dropped to around £400,000 now.’

The jobs being merged are the head of planning strategy and environment with the head of regeneration, the head of ICT with the head of personnel and development, and the head of revenues and benefits with the head of strategic housing.

The director of regulatory and democratic services position will be dropped, under the plans.

Three other lower paid and vacant positions will also be axed to save £43,000.

The redundancies will cost up to £299,000 and the pension fund costs will be up to £228,000.

The report, which councillors will vote on in March, says the removal of the top posts will cut senior management by 18 per cent.

It also says the council will receive £99,000 a year from the operators of Fareham Leisure Centre as the council agreed to give it £1.5m for refurbishments. A risk management contract expiring will save the council £7,000 a year.

A £5m investment in property, agreed in November, will bring in £250,000 a year.

Along with other measures, including roundabout sponsorship and recycling revenue, the report outlines £777,000 of savings in total.

Cllr Woodward said the changes will not affect services.

Cllr Paul Whittle is the group leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition.

He said: ‘The staff cuts only follow because of the financial pressures the council faces, which stem from government funding cut backs.