West Sussex council jobs fears

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WEST Sussex County Council will have to cut £37million from its budget this year – meaning hundreds of jobs could be lost.

The council’s cabinet met on Tuesday, January 25, to discuss the cuts, which have to be made during the next financial year as a result of the current economic climate, and how savings can be found.

Michael Brown, cabinet member for finance, revealed that, in total, the authority needed to reduce spending by £79million before 2013.

Unions now fear several hundred jobs could be cut as a result of the cost-cutting, but consultation with staff about their posts is still ongoing and exact numbers of redundancies have not been confirmed.

Chris Earwaker, from UNISON, said the union is meeting the county council on Monday, January 31, and is hopeful many of the job losses would be through voluntary redundancy.

However, she raised fears of increased workload and stress for those who retained positions.

Council leader Louise Goldsmith said: “We obviously face some very difficult decisions over the next three years.”

Mr Brown said the county council hoped to make savings by reducing bureaucracy by 30 per cent and working “more efficiently”.

He said: “This is a budget that does protect the most vulnerable, there will be investment in children’s services, and we are also committed to maintaining our road network and dealing with potholes.”