Bah, humbug: Croydon Council reveals 64 job losses days before Christmas

Croydon Guardian: Instead of giving out presents for Christmas, Croydon Council, led by Councillor Mike Fisher, announced 64 job cuts Instead of giving out presents for Christmas, Croydon Council, led by Councillor Mike Fisher, announced 64 job cuts

Dozens of council staff have learnt they face losing their jobs just a week before Christmas.

Some 64 jobs are set to be cut next year, with the axe falling hardest on support for children and families, new details of Croydon Council's budget have revealed.

The council last week outlined plans to slash spending by £17m next year but detailed only a fraction of which services it would cut.

But more details emerged this week, including dozens more job cuts omitted from the original budget papers.

The spending reductions follow £71.5m of cuts made over the last three years following amid a continued squeeze on council finances by central Government.

A reorganisation of the council's youth services will lead to more than half the job losses earmarked for next year, with the equivalent of 34.5 full-time positions facing the chop to save £760,000.

Some 22 backroom staff are also set to go, with data analysts, customer service employees and finance workers facing redundancy.

Onay Kasab, regional officer for the union Unite, said: "It is absolutely dreadful news for employees to receive just before Christmas.

"It is awful timing, given the extra expense and the pressure for people to spend more money at this time of the year."

Coun Tim Pollard, cabinet member for children, families and learning, said dwindling funding from central Government had forced the council to make tough decisions.

He said: "As a council, over the course of five years from 2010 to 2015, we are going to see a reduction in our spending power of well over 30 per cent at a time when, economic conditions being difficult, a lot the demand for services is higher than ever.

"You can't do that without having to make difficult decisions."

The cuts to children's service staff come as the council merges its early intervention department with and its youth support service.

A council report in January acknowledged the restructure would mean a reduction in support for youngsters, potentially leading to more serious problems for older children.

Coun Kathy Bee, Labour spokeswoman on children, said: "It is very clear there are risks around families being missed at that early stage and getting into more difficulties. There are more vulnerable families coming into the area."

Coun Pollard said the restructure would make support for children "as targeted as possible so that families that really need it and will benefit from it get it and families that actually can cope don't have interventions."

But Mr Kasab said it was "complete and utter nonsense" to label the cuts "efficiency savings".

He said: "They should be called what they are, which is cuts. Even if redundancies are voluntary, it means 64 fewer jobs for those coming out of college and going into work."

The budget also earmarked the school music service - which teaches children instruments - to lose £30,000, while the museum and archives service to lose £10,000 - ten per cent of its funding.

The council blamed "technical reasons" for some of the cuts being omitted from budget papers published last week.





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