About 200 staff will lose jobs in county council budget

County Hall
County Hall

Northamptonshire County Council says it may have to shed 200 jobs as it prepares its budget for 2013 and 2014.

The council’s draft budget for the coming financial year is to be debated this afternoon at County Hall in Northampton – but at a press conference this morning (Tuesday) the authority’s chief executive Paul Blantern said about 150 full-time-equivalent jobs would be lost, which he estimated would affect about 200 people once consultations had been carried out.

The county council said it has been forced to make savings of £32 million this year.

About £19 million of this has arisen because of additional pressures on existing services, such as care for the elderly and young people, and the remaining £13 million is because the council is expecting to receive less money from the Government than it had predicted.

However, the savings mean the county council will not be increasing its element of the council tax bill in the coming year.

Council leader Jim Harker, speaking about the cuts, said: “It is not fun, obviously. It is not what I came into local government for.”

Chief executive Paul Blantern said the predicted job losses would affect a number of departments.

He added: “About 300 people are being informed in the next day or two that they will be affected.

“From that, we have to make about 150 full time equivalent positions redundant and that means about 200 people in all.”

Dr Blantern said some of the job losses would affect the education department as the rollout of the academy schools scheme meant the county council had less of a direct hand in education.

Other areas facing cuts are the county’s Meals on Wheels service and the Healthy Schools Service, which had been funded by a now-expired Government grant meaning the service would have to be subsidised by tax payers in the future if it continued.

Elsewhere, the county council says it has saved money by integrating aspects of some departments with neighbouring authorities, such as highways, which has saved £1 million, and waste disposal, which has saved £1.25 million.

The draft budget will now be scrutinised and will be confirmed on February 21 next year.