Council considers axing 400 jobs to cover £30m funding gap

Swindon Borough Council has warned that it could get rid of over 400 jobs in order to account for a lack of funding from central government.

The council has called the scheme the ‘Swindon Programme’ and maintains that it is about changing roles and reorganising funds in order to meet responsibilities and run services efficiently.

In a recent statement, the authority said it would need to reduce the 2,800 people it employs by about 15%, with a mix of redundancies, retirements and not replacing existing roles.

The process is expected to take place across the next two and a half years in order to close a funding gap of £30m.

Swindon say the changing responsibilities of social care are one of the main drains on the current budget and that the authority has to try and prioritise vulnerable people in the community.

“Local Authorities across the country are having to fundamentally change the way in which services are provided in order to ensure that they are sustainable for future generations,” commented Cllr Russell Holland, deputy leader of Swindon Borough Council and cabinet member for finance and commercialisation.

“This will include making more services available online and a greater focus on commercialisation. The reality is that an increasing amount of money is spent on supporting vulnerable adults and children and we have to prioritise our spending on those who are most in need.

“Our financial challenge is significant, over the next 30 months we need to achieve savings of £30m. This means that very difficult but necessary decisions will be made in order for us to continue to prioritise growing Swindon’s economy and supporting those most in need.”

The council has proposed consultations with staff and the appropriate trade unions in order to inform staff about any future decisions or redundancy plans.

Swindon also hopes to driving efficiencies through the programme, and will review its procurement processes in order to save the council as much money as possible.

Funding problems surrounding social care have been an ongoing controversy in the last year. Council spending increased this year for the first time since 2005 and earlier this month the CQC called on the government to fix what it called a “perfect storm” of care issues.

Top image: Rubber-Dragon

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