West Sussex jobs cuts after council tax freeze

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MORE than 1,000 county council jobs could be lost as part of spending cuts.

West Sussex County Council is poised to shed about 1,300 posts over the next three years, as it gears up for a £79m spending reduction.

At a budget meeting leader Louise Goldsmith said the council needed to lose 500 staff and transfer a further 800 jobs to other service providers.

In terms of job cuts, 350 will go in the coming year and the rest will be over the two following years.

Of these, about 400 will be permanent county council employees and the other 100 temporary agency staff.

In job losses and transfers, there will be 1,300 fewer staff employed by the county council in three years’ time, bringing down the total head count to about 5,000. That is compared with 6,300 staff at present – excluding teachers.

After referring to a “tsunami of savings”, Mrs Goldsmith told the county council: “When you take out £79m from an organisation, it cannot be done without major implications and, therefore, substantial change.”

After the meeting, Mrs Goldsmith said the council had been preparing for this day and, over the last year or so, had been holding posts vacant to minimise the impact on staff.

Some of the savings required could, therefore, be achieved by removing nearly 100 vacancies from the books or using them to redeploy staff whose jobs were going elsewhere.

The 500 job cuts are expected to include 239 posts from back office and support service staff and 95 management and support posts in areas including libraries, strategic planning and highways and transport.

The county has approved a nought per cent council tax increase for the year 2011-12.

The authority’s share of the bill for the average band D tax band will remain £1,161.99.

Final council tax bills will include precepts from Sussex Police, Worthing Borough Council, West Sussex Fire and Rescue and parish councils.