Town council cuts 22 jobs to bridge shortfall of £2m

Flowers laid in tribute outside the multi-storey car park on Osborn Road, Fareham

Flowers for boy who died near car park

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GOSPORT Borough Council has axed 22 jobs in a bid to save £2m.

The losses come after the leader of the council, Councillor Mark Hook, put out a call for staff to come forward for voluntary redundancy.

Nineteen employees – including cashiers and receptionists – took up the redundancy offer, while two senior managers opted for early retirement.

The only compulsory redundancy was that of the £60,000-plus a year post of director for economic development.

But in an e-mail to staff, the borough council’s chief executive Ian Lycett warned compulsory redundancies will have to be considered in the future.

Tory Cllr Hook said he hopes to keep that number below 20.

‘Gone are the days when local authorities have two people doing one person’s job,’ he said. It’s now very much the other way.

‘Just like every other council we’re having to look at reducing our spending because the amount of grant we have received from the government is £2m less.

‘We have done that by making one director redundant and two senior managers took early retirement.’

He added: ‘We need to do this quickly so once those are over the rest of the staff can get on with their jobs and their lives.

‘We want to try and get this pain over as quickly as possible to give that assurance to the remainder of the staff.’

The council would not say how much the job losses would cost in redundancy pay but argued the savings would be ‘significant’.

Cllr Hook said the majority of 22 jobs that have gone were from the ‘back room staff’.

‘It won’t have any effect on front line services,’ he said.

‘We are committed to maintaining front line services.

But Cllr Peter Chegwyn, leader of the Gosport Lib Dems, has criticised the council’s decision not to cut more posts at senior management level.

He said: ‘Gosport want to be looking to prune jobs at the top.

‘We have got far too many chiefs and not enough Indians.

‘They should look at what the government is telling them, and other councils are doing, which is cutting senior posts.’