Page last updated at 17:50 GMT, Thursday, 21 January 2010

Cambridgeshire council job and service cuts loom

Up to 300 jobs and some services are to go, as Cambridgeshire County Council plans a £16m cut in its annual budget.

The authority also wants to increase council tax in 2010/11 by 3% - the maximum allowed by the government.

The council said dealing with "painful" longer-term pressures was at the heart of its plan, which was one of the "most challenging" tasks it had undertaken.

Unison said staff with heavy workloads should not be expected to work harder, and that "services would suffer".

Over the next five years the council plans £70m of cuts at a time when an increase in the local population is expected.

'Double whammy'

Unison's general secretary Dave Prentis said: "Our members are rightly very angry and upset at this news.

"The employers are making savings both ways, by cutting jobs and... pushing for a pay freeze for those who remain.

"This loss of jobs will be a double whammy for the local community.

"They will lose essential services, and shops and businesses will have to cope with less money as unemployed staff will struggle to buy even the basic essentials."

Much of the £70m in savings will come from the budget for adult services which makes up 50% of the council's £337m annual spend.

The next five years contains the bleakest outlook for public services nationally for decades
Jill Tuck, council leader

The authority is also facing a cut in government funding of £2m.

The council said it would cut red tape and bureaucracy and predicted its 6,500-strong workforce could shrink by 300.

It revealed it would look at cutting costs in both adult and children's social services.

Libraries will also be hit, with mobile libraries making less frequent visits to communities.

Leader of the council Jill Tuck said: "The next five years contains the bleakest outlook for public services nationally for decades.

"Inevitably some services will be delivered differently and some will reduce."

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