Jobs to go as district council decides on cuts

WHERE the axe will fall is becoming clear with North Herts District Council (NHDC) set to recommended job losses at Cabinet next week amid a backdrop of cuts totalling �1.976m this year - to be agreed by full council tonight (Thursday).

With a required saving of �823,000 in job cuts for 2011-12, NHDC proposals recommend axing two heads of service posts, two senior managers and approximately seven jobs in general staffing, as well as around seven full-time posts expected to be left vacant.

The redundancies, alongside measures such as reducing hours and merging roles, will be the first of a wave of jobs to go at the council over the next four years with further staff restructuring of the workforce - which currently amounts to the equivalent of 342 full-time posts - to the tune of �2.67m expected between 2012 and 2015.

Meanwhile, at tonight’s full council meeting it is expected that proposals including reducing maintenance for town centres, play areas, trees and grass cutting, axing support for the Handyperson scheme and phasing out funding for town centre partnerships will be approved.

Funding for youth services is also likely to suffer with recommendations for the removal of the Youth Development budget and withdrawal of financial support for the Herts Youth Games.

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Increased charges for interment of ashes and burials, leisure facilities, resident parking permits and car park season tickets are all set to get the go-ahead too.

Decisions on slashing the number of public toilets, cutting funding to Hitchin Market and reducing the number of plastic bring backs in rural areas has been deferred until next year’s budget to allow for further consultation.

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Reducing the number of bring banks for paper and glass has been removed from the budget altogether, as it has been deemed that the impact on income would be greater than a reduction in expenditure.

Commenting on the proposed council job losses which will form part of four years’ worth of cuts totalling �8.790m, Bob Leverett, Unison branch secretary for North Herts, said: “Obviously we’re trying to manage to the best of our ability to try to save as many jobs as possible as that’s what we’re here for, but at the moment we’re only aware of the top management jobs that are going.

“We’re not sure where else the axe is going to fall until the Cabinet meet and tell us.

“We do realise that the council has got cuts to make, however, how these cuts are managed is something we’re here to do.”

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