Fears of borough job cuts

SOME staff at Civic Centre in Ipswich fear a new round of redundancies could be on the way as the new Conservative/Liberal Democrat administration battles to bring costs under control.

SOME staff at Civic Centre in Ipswich fear a new round of redundancies could be on the way as the new Conservative/Liberal Democrat administration battles to bring costs under control.

But details of next year's budget have still not been worked out and are unlikely to be confirmed before the end of the year.

The new administration at Civic Centre announced plans earlier in the autumn to ensure that its element of next year's council tax increase would go up by less than the rate of inflation.

Last week's announcement of a three per cent increase in the amount of money the council gets from the government has made achieving a below-inflation target easier.


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But there are still fears that belt-tightening could force the council to make some redundancies.

One council employee said: "No one has officially said anything, but there are all kinds of rumours flying around. It is very unsettling, especially at Christmas."

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No one from the Unison union was available to comment on the fears, but The Evening Star understands officials have been contacted by anxious staff seeking advice and reassurance.

Full details of next year's council budget are still be calculated - but senior councillors and officials are hopeful that it will be agreed before the Christmas break.

Council leader Dale Jackson said: "We cannot say anything about the budget until all the calculations are completed.

"We cannot make any promises about spending until we know how much we have. This administration will only be spending what it can afford."

The administration does hope that the slightly more generous settlement than expected means that some of the proposals which have been shelved can now be introduced.

Deputy leader and housing spokeswoman Liz Harsant hoped that the council would be able to take action on homelessness.

A £200,000 guarantee for a scheme to provide accommodation for homeless families was delayed until the budget became clear, prompting anger from the Labour opposition.

Mrs Harsant said: "I really hope that this settlement means we are able to go ahead with schemes like this."

Do you think costs should be cut at Civic Centre? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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