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All departments being scrutinised to see where axe will fall
FORTY jobs are being slashed at Worcester City Council as the cash-strapped authority prepares to make cuts to balance the books.
The council, which employs around 335 people, says all departments are being examined to see where the axe could fall.
The losses are the worst since 2008, when the council announced 84 jobs were being slashed over a two-year period.
The first tranch, of 10 posts, will go after next April, with the 30 other positions being scrapped in the following three financial years leading to 2018.
Because of the timescale for cutting all 40 roles, politicians say they are confident compulsory job losses can be avoided.
It hopes to delete vacant positions when they arise and rely on natural wastage to avoid redundancies.
It comes as the council prepares to slash more than £4m from spending by 2019 in response to the public sector spending squeeze.
Reductions in the workforce could help save around £800,000, assuming there are no compulsory redundancies.
Councillor Richard Boorn, cabinet member for finance, said: “In terms of numbers it is 40, which we genuinely believe can be achieved through natural wastage.
“There’s been an argument in the past that we’ve had too much ‘fat’ (in terms of staffing numbers) but we’re really starting to get to the point where anything more on top of this will really be significant.
“We’d have to think the unthinkable.
“We’ve got to strike a balance with our budget in being economically sound and laying down the foundations for future years.”
Next year’s job losses are part of a plan to slash £974,000 from spending in 2014/15, which is out for consultation ahead of February’s full council meeting.
As your Worcester News revealed last month, it includes higher car parking charges and cremation costs, as well as a council tax rise of 1.9 per cent.
At the start of the century, the city council’s workforce was hovering around 1,000 people but it has suffered from relentless reductions since then.