Suffolk: �26m cuts will see county have 3,000 fewer workers

SUFFOLK: The county is set to end up with more than 3,000 fewer employees next year, The Evening Star can reveal today.

Not all the jobs will be lost – most will be transferred to other bodies – but many are bound to go as the council has to find cuts of �26million over the next year.

Details of the county’s proposed budget for 2012/13 have been published in advance of the next meeting of the county’s cabinet which is due to take place on January 24.

The county’s element of council tax bills – the largest part of those bills – is set to be frozen for another year.

Next year’s savings are the first of a two-year programme which will result in more than �50million in cuts.

In the 12 months from March this year, the number of people directly employed by the county is set to fall from 7,996 to 4,817.

The number includes library staff who will be transferred to the new Industrial and Provident Society (IPS) which is being set up to run the county’s network of libraries.

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The county insists most of the savings will be achieved by cutting bureaucracy.

Mr Bee said: “I’ve made it very clear that what I want to see from this process is the creation of a budget that saves money on back office, protects, as much as possible, frontline services and keeps council tax down.

“I’m pleased that despite the financial circumstances we are facing, the proposals that have been drawn up meet these expectations whilst at the same time make it possible to invest some of our capital budget in major projects.”

Opposition Liberal Democrat finance spokesman Andrew Cann said he was concerned about the degree of outsourcing the council was planning to do.

He said: “I am not worried about who provides the service, whether they are public sector, private sector or third sector.

“What does worry me is the county’s ability to manage contracts.

“I have been concerned about how the cost of the CSD (Customer Service Direct) contract has increased over the years and now we are looking at more contracts.”

He added: “I am not convinced that the savings will be able to be achieved – and contracts, especially those for road maintenance, will have to be managed very carefully,” he said.

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