Flintshire authority employees face pay freeze in bid to save cash

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FLINTSHIRE Council staff will not get a pay rise this year as the authority looks to make savings of £10m.

Plans to close five libraries, cut schools’ delegated budgets and charge for music lessons will also be put to a vote of the full council in March after the council’s executive committee approved the revenue budget for 2011/12 at a meeting yesterday.

Head of finance Kerry Feather said the budget was like a planned descent rather than falling off a cliff edge.

She said: “There is no agreement or proposals in terms of a pay increase for non-teachers. This budget has £9.5m of efficiencies and this is bigger than the council has faced before. With the loss of positions there will be redeployment and retraining where possible.

“This is a very difficult budget, not just for Flintshire.”

The council has been forced to make the cuts after a reduced settlement from the Welsh Assembly Government and the impact of inflation.

It is expected around 100 posts will be lost within the authority.

Ian Budd, Flintshire’s director of lifelong learning said he was “passionate” about libraries and the council would be looking to work with community council’s to try and keep the under-threat libries open.

Plans to reduce the county’s mobile library service remain although it is hoped to have longer stops during the library’s three week cycle of visits to communities and to maintain services for housebound users.

The removal of free transport for those with learning disabilities and the elderly is to continue although only those on the higher rate of mobility allowance will be affected and each case will be judged on an individual basis.

Cllr Matt Wright, executive member for regeneration, said: “We have protected key services. We have not made major redundancies which we have seen in other councils.”

See full story in the Leader

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