Public will feel force of county job cuts

Preston County Hall.
Preston County Hall.

County council job cuts will be the nail in the coffin for some public services says Lancashire’s biggest trade union.

Up to 2,500 Lancashire County Council workers are being encouraged to take voluntary redundancy as the council looks to save £300m by April 2016.

UNISON says the job losses will have a devastating effect on the ability of the council to provide services to the people of Lancashire.

A spokesman said: “What is clear is that the scale of job losses proposed is such that it will mean the end of some services which the people of Lancashire rely on, leaving many people at risk and in vulnerable situations.”

The union is now scrutinising the county’s financial position in a bid to identify alternatives to cuts of the scale proposed.

It will also be holding a series of meetings with its members to discuss the impact of the proposed cuts.

Elaine Cotterell, Lancashire branch secretary, said: “UNISON will support our members through this difficult time and try to avoid compulsory redundancies where possible.

“The council has been slicing services for a number of years and reductions in frontline services have already been implemented. In the last three years, 1,500 workers have lost their jobs.

“This round of cuts is even more drastic and will have a devastating effect on the local economy and the people of Lancashire who we serve.”

Jennifer Mein, county council leader, said: This is the harsh reality of the cuts being imposed by government, as we seek to find £300m savings on top of the £220m the council has saved over the last three years.

“The council simply cannot make these savings without significant reductions both in the services it provides to local communities and in the number of people it employs to deliver those services.

“These are decisions we would rather not have to make, but I am determined to lead the council through this period in a way that makes the changes as fair as possible to the public and employees alike.

“My hope is that enough people will choose to go on a voluntary basis and our proposed approach has that outcome in mind.”