Page last updated at 17:15 GMT, Thursday, 18 February 2010

Nottinghamshire council plan threatens 1,000 jobs

An extra 1,000 jobs could be lost at Nottinghamshire County Council as part of a "modernisation programme".

The council says it plans to cut back operations with increased technology, reduced management and fewer buildings.

The Tory-run authority claims £200m could be saved and redirected to front-line services over five years.

Local government union Unison said the news was "shocking" and accused the council of making politically, not financially, motivated cuts.

Compulsory redundancies would be kept to a minimum, the council said, but there could be further savings made linking some services with other councils.

'Old-fashioned way'

The plans come after 500 redundancies were announced as part of efforts to save £85m over the next three years to balance the budget.

Council leader Kay Cutts said the authority's methods needed to be brought up to date.

These job cuts are totally unnecessary and are politically, not financially, motivated
Dave Prentis
General secretary, Unison

She added: "Other councils have done it, we are way behind the times and it has just got to stop.

"Our neighbouring councils have done it, the city council have done it - we cannot continue to work in the same old-fashioned way."

She said the county council was looking at linking up some services with other councils, adding: "I think we will be looking at a whole county solution to a lot of these things - HR, payroll, all of those things which are quite easy to do across the piece.

"After all, we are all serving the same population."

Union officials said they were concerned about the huge impact on staff and complained there had not been enough consultation.

The plan will be considered by the full council next week.

'Difficult choices'

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: "These job cuts are totally unnecessary and are politically, not financially, motivated.

"Councils have billions of pounds in unallocated reserves and have made huge efficiency savings thanks to the efforts of the workforce.

Up and down the country many councils feel they have to take the decision to cut jobs
Dame Margaret Eaton, chairwoman, Local Government Association

"Unison submitted detailed budget proposals to the council showing how to find the savings it wanted, but these were ignored."

Last month Birmingham City Council announced a review of its workforce, with up to 1,400 jobs at risk.

The Local Government Association said councils were being hit by the economic downturn "in exactly the same way as hard-pressed homeowners and families".

Chairwoman Dame Margaret Eaton said: "Low interest rates mean councils are much less able to rely on their savings, plummeting house and land prices have hit hard and income from leisure centres and a range of other services has fallen.

"Town halls have been swept by the cold winds of recession for more than a year and that means difficult choices have to be made.

"Up and down the country many councils feel they have to take the decision to cut jobs in response."

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