|Hundreds of Jobs At Risk At Ealing Council|
And warnings of cuts to local services
More than 400 staff have been put at risk of redundancy at Ealing Council and there are warnings that local services will face big cuts too.
The council has to make £96 million in savings in the next four years which it says leaves it with no option but to fundamentally change and stop some services by spring 2019.
The £96million is in addition to £87million the council already has to cut by next April.
The authority say this will mean that, over the decade, it will have lost more than half the money it gets from the government to spend on local services. Money for schools and housing benefit is separate and largely not in the council’s control.
On Tuesday, 25 November, the council’s cabinet will consider detailed proposals for around £50million of savings over the next four years. Proposals for the remaining budget reductions will be considered by councillors at future cabinet meetings.
Councillor Julian Bell, leader of the council, said: “We are facing massive and unprecedented cuts from central government that are going to hit this borough hard with every council service affected. The scale of cuts that we are now facing means that we have had no choice but to re-think how the council operates in the future to stay within our vastly reduced means.
“By the end of this process the government will have taken away more than half the money we used to get to run local services. We have no option but to make tough decisions about what we can and can’t fund in the future.
“Over the past few years we have done our best to protect the most vulnerable and ease the financial burden on our residents. This will continue to be at the forefront of our decision-making.
“We know local people have been experiencing tough financial times too and we would not wish to add any extra burden by increasing bills. This is why we will freeze council tax again next year. Raising council tax to fill the black hole in our finances is not a realistic option, as bills would need to roughly double to cover the projected shortfall. That is how big the funding gap is.
“As part of these cuts we have no option but to significantly reduce the number of people working for the council. Ealing is very lucky to have a talented group of people working for us who are dedicated to public service. This process will not be easy I would like to thank every member of staff for their work and ongoing commitment to putting residents’ needs first.”
Discussions have started to take place across the council with affected staff. The council is making every effort to minimise the number of compulsory redundancies through maximising the opportunities for redeployment and voluntary redundancy.
Councillor Yvonne Johnson, cabinet member for finance, performance and welfare, said: “After four tough years of budget reductions we are in no doubt about the scale of the challenge ahead.
“Not only is our funding being cut but we won’t be getting additional funding needed to cope with our rising population and the extra demand for social care services. This means that the money we do have will be spread far more thinly and we will have no choice but to prioritise what we do and ensure services are provided more cheaply.
“While there are no easy solutions or choices we have a good track record in making these decisions in a fair and balanced way. This experience will be invaluable in the coming months.”
11th November 2014