Jobs going at county

More than 130 positions are to go at Suffolk County Council but the authority says it will save cash by not replacing staff as they leave rather than sacking current workers.

MORE than 100 posts are to be lost in a new round of county cutbacks, it was revealed today.

Bosses at Suffolk County Council's headquarters Endeavour House in Ipswich remained confident no one would have to be made redundant - the 133 job losses will be absorbed in normal staff turnover.

The cuts are being made because the council has to find budget savings of £22 million during the financial year starting in April.

And it is keeping the increase in its element of council tax bills down to 4.5 per cent - half as much again as the government's official inflation figure.

Council finance spokeswoman Jane Storey was confident there would be no redundancies: “We can't afford to pay redundancy pay.

“We have a natural staff turnover that is far greater than the number of posts that are going. We will be looking to redeploy staff and retrain them where necessary.”

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The council employs 10,000 staff - and a further 17,000 employed by schools which come under a different budget - and has a staff turnover of about 10 pc a year.

With 1,000 posts being advertised a year, Mrs Storey was confident the posts which were going could be easily absorbed by the organisation.

Council leader Jeremy Pembroke said the government grant of £133.2 million was substantially less than the authority needed to maintain its services at their current level.

He said: “We have looked at all aspects of the council's operations and we have identified a number of efficiency savings.

“We don't want to hit services, and I have not been made aware of any major issues that might result from these savings.”

The council tax rise will see people living in a Band B property - the most numerous in Ipswich - an extra £34.65 to the county from April. Borough and police authority elements of the bill still have to be set.

Opposition budget spokesman Keith Rawlingson said: “The government figures cannot have been a surprise to the administration. They are the same as was indicated two years ago when we had a Labour-led administration.

“The difference is Labour tended to put the emphasis on services for people rather than on things. We will be trying to ensure the impact of this on vulnerable people is as little as possible.”

Deep cuts to one of the county's popular education services have been “re-assessed” in a council u-turn.

Suffolk County Council announced in October last year it was considering cutting £331,000 of funding to the School Music Service in order to help plug the budget shortfall.

The proposed savings had been described as “devastating” by teaching unions as they threatened music tuition and youth music groups.

However, today the council said the cuts will now be nearer £30,000, ten per cent of the original figure.

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