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Leicestershire County Council's £30m budget gap to lead to redundancies

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More than 1,000 jobs are set to be axed at Leicestershire County Council over the next four years as bosses try to plug a huge gap in its finances.

Yesterday, the Conservative administration at County Hall revealed its proposed budget from April this year and forecasts for the savings it says are needed up to 2017/18.

The council says it needs to save £79 million in that period but has so far only earmarked how about £48 million can be taken out of the budgets – leaving a £30 million hole.

It says it results from cuts in Government grants, coupled with an increase in demand for key services such as caring for the elderly and vulnerable youngsters.

Byron Rhodes, deputy council leader and finance spokesman, said: "Over the past four years we have taken out £48 million. An immense amount has already been done, but a lot more needs to be done.

"We will be looking at every service the council provides. Everything will be in the melting pot.

"At the moment we don't have a plan to find the £30 million. We will have do some fairly radical things."

About 750 posts have been axed at the council in the past three years, leaving it with 9,000 staff, excluding teachers.

Coun Rhodes said 1,100 more would go and that compulsory redundancies were inevitable.

Council leader Nick Rushton said: "Unfortunately, we have already picked all the low- hanging fruit and most of the people who wanted to go have done so."

Some of the savings already identified include cutting £300,000 funding for subsidising rural bus routes and £2.5 million from the children and young people's department, as growing numbers of schools leave council control and become academies.

A further £3 million will be stripped from senior management and administration costs.

East Midlands Unison spokesman Keith Libetta said the jobs cuts announcement was "terrible news for our members, but also for the public".

"There is only so much austerity the country can take and the loss of these jobs will ultimately start to affect the people who use the services provided by these employees," he said.


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