Jobs could be axed as Flintshire Council looks at budget cuts of £30m

Reporter:

Andrew Boyd

COUNCIL bosses must find budget cuts of almost £30 million over the next three years and job cuts have not been ruled out.

Flintshire Council chiefs are being urged to adopt a sensitive approach after the extent of its financial deficit was revealed yesterday.

Officers informed members at County Hall they face an estimated £29million revenue shortfall over the next three years.

The council is anxiously awaiting the Government’s comprehensive Spending Review next month that will make clear the position for the imminent future.

Although the authority has not confirmed it will be making compulsory redundancies, slides shown to council members listed a “reduction in workforce” as a possible option along with a reduction in the costs of employment and service changes.

Connah’s Quay councillor Aaron Shotton said the figures had not come as a surprise.

He said: “It is clear prospects for residents and staff are very stark. This is the biggest test for the council since its inception.

“The situation must be handled sensitively and with due care.

“What happens in October with the comprehensive Spending Review could make the situation a whole lot worse.”

Northop Hall councillor Tony Sharps described Flintshire’s staff as “our greatest asset” and Cllr Chris Dolphin called for his fellow members to do their bit to help staff by limiting the expenses they claim.

“Although these are little things, we can show the staff that we are with them,” he said.

The presented figures included a reduction by £1million per year in general capital funding and an expected fall in specific grants for revenue and capital.

Cllr Nigel Steele-Mortimer said: “It is futile to speculate on how we have got into this position.

“We are going to be faced with substantial cuts in our income. We need to protect our frontline services.”

Flintshire’s financial position has not been helped by £3.7million having been wrapped up in Icelandic banks which collapsed two years ago.

Head of finance Kerry Feather said she was hopeful the council could claim back 85 per cent of its investments.

The council has identified nearly £2million efficiency savings for the next year and a Flintshire Futures programme has been created to help tackle the cost-cutting exercise.

The final budget for 2011-12 must be presented to the executive by next February.

See full story in the Leader

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