Page last updated at 17:37 GMT, Thursday, 5 November 2009

Council's 85m cuts threaten jobs

Older people
The council wants to invest in adult mental health and elderly services

Up to 475 jobs will be lost and services cut under Nottinghamshire County Council's proposals to save £85m in the next three years.

Hundreds of workers protested against the proposed changes at County Hall in West Bridgford earlier.

The council said a rise in demand for children's and adult services meant budgets to other services will be cut.

A public consultation will be held into the proposals, which also include selling off care homes.

Tim Gregory, the council's corporate director, said: "We have a very serious challenge over the next few years.

"Jobs have been taken from many local authorities recently."

Compulsory redundancies

The council said it needed to invest an extra £15m in adult mental health and elderly services.

Another £6.8m will go to children's services, including safeguarding young people, following a rise in referrals in the wake of the Baby P case.

Councillor Kay Cutts, leader of the council, said it was vital that the authority put more money into those key areas.

"We have lonely, vulnerable people we need to look after and children who need our services," she said.

Officials confirmed there would be compulsory redundancies in some departments, including communities, corporate services and the chief executive's office.

But they added some staff could be redeployed to services receiving increased investment.

Staff would also see changes to holiday entitlement and redundancy pay.

Cuts expected

Under the proposals the 13 residential care homes owned by the council would be sold off, though officials said more money would be diverted to extra care services enabling elderly people to live independently in their own homes.

Cuts would also be made to environmental services, with three recycling centres closing down.

The council hopes to save £50,000 by reducing gritters' layers of salt on icy roads from 10mm to 6mm.

People using services, such as transport, meals and day care for the elderly, will see increased charges.

Mr Gregory said: "We have a budget of £480m, up from £472m last year, and that is fixed.

'Sad day'

"So when demand goes up for adult and children's care we have to move that money from one place to another to balance the books."

He also confirmed the Conservative-run council was planning to stick to its manifesto pledge not to raise council tax next year.

Union representatives said they expected more cuts in future.

Mike Scott, the council's Unison representative, said: "It's pretty much what we expected.

"Services in Nottinghamshire have traditionally been very good and that's clearly not going to happen in future and that's a very sad day for the county."

A decision will be made on the proposals at the council's budget meeting in February.

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The council said it needed to invest an extra 15m in adult mental health and elderly services



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