1,800 Job Losses At Cumbria Council From 7,000 Employees Over 3 Years From Tory/Lib Imposed Cuts Are A Devastating Blow Says GMB
Members are shocked and will ask that all other avenues are explored cutting thousands of jobs and a full consultation with council staff will throw up other savings says GMB.
GMB, the union for public service workers, responded to the statement by Cumbria County Council that an estimated 1800 jobs are set to go over next three years as £83 million more savings still need to be made meet the Tory/Liberal £213 million cuts target. See notes to editors for copy of the council statement.
Dan Gow, GMB Regional Organiser said, "The loss of 1,800 job out of Cumbrian council 7,000 employees over 3 years is a devastating blow.
GMB has received no details about the job losses apart from being told that the council has initially identified 600 jobs to go.
The council has also withdrawn the enhanced redundancy package and is looking to make voluntary redundancies under the state only package.
GMB is shocked by this. We will be demanding that all other avenues are fully explored to make alternative savings before resorting to cutting hundreds of jobs. A full consultation with council staff will throw up other savings.
It is early days so GMB will be fighting to bring down the number of job cuts and raise the redundancy deal. It is difficult to see with the level of cuts announced that frontline services will not be seriously impacted and wider Cumbrian economy.”
Contact: Dan Gow 07506 711676 or 01946 67245 or GMB press office 07974 251 823 or 07921289880
Notes to editors
Statement by Cumbria County Council – 23 October
"Dark Times" at Cumbria Council: estimated 1800 jobs set to go over next three years as £83 million more savings still need to be made to hit £213 million target.
Councillors are warning that 1,800 further jobs will go from Cumbria County Council over the next three years.
The stark picture emerged as the council began its consultation with local people and its staff over millions of pounds of new savings needed to help balance the council books by 2018.
Most of the savings affect the way the council is organised, but some will affect services directly - so the council is keen to hear people's views on them in its 'Securing Your Future' consultation. People are also being asked to consider a 2% rise in the county council's share of council tax.
Changes affecting services and external organisations include: reforms in the way health and social care services are delivered so there's a greater focus on independent living and a tighter remit on commissioning; cuts in grants to partner organisations including the Lake District National Park and Cumbria Tourism; and reductions in funding for recycling. The council is also proposing to save money in the long run with extra investment in the road network and increasing tourism spend by investing in the Tour of Britain.
More than three-quarters (79%) of next year's proposed savings are 'internal' ones to be delivered within the four walls of the organisation. This will involve changes to the way the council manages its money and works with partners or contractors to deliver services.
In the past the council employed around 10,000 people (excluding schools staff). By 2018 this will be down to around 5,200, meaning Cumbria County Council will have almost halved in size.
External experts have undertaken work on the savings that could be made from having one or two unitary councils in Cumbria. This work indicates that one unitary council could achieve between £22 million and £27 million of savings across county council and district council budgets. Having two unitary councils could achieve savings of between £13 million and £16 million. This work is based on 2013/14 data. This would help ease the financial strain and protect some services, but it's not our decision to make.
Cllr Patricia Bell, Cumbria County Council's Deputy Leader and Cabinet member responsible for resources, said:
"These are dark times for the public sector. These are the biggest cuts the council has ever seen. Losing another 1,800 staff will impact on lives, families and our local economy.
"It will be very painful but there is no alternative. We have a legal duty to balance our books and we must live within our means and face up to the reality that if the Government cuts our grants and reduces our budget by a quarter, then we have to make cuts too.
"It has taken a massive effort to identify the £130 million of savings a year that we've already found, but the next three years of cutting a further £83 million is going to be incredibly tough."
The county council is very keen to hear as many views as possible on the difficult road ahead so that councillors can make informed choices when they agree the Budget in February 2015.
All of the savings proposals, issues of discussion and further background on the scale of the challenge are available at www.cumbria.gov.uk/budgetconsultation and the consultation document is also being circulated through libraries and council offices. A pdf of the document can also be uploaded from the link below.
The consultation, which is now open, will run until 20 January.
For further information contact Cumbria County Council's communications team on 01228 226601.