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Somerset council plans to cut 300 jobs over next two years

Bath and North East Somerset Council (BNES) announced it needs to make £16m of savings over the next two years due to government funding cuts and rising demand.

Its staff have been informed that 15% of the 2,000-strong workforce will lose their jobs by 2020 as part of the cutbacks.

The council said it has already made £27m of cuts across the organisation, but growing strain on social services as well as rising complexity in care have forced the authority to reduce in size.

Conservative council leader Tim Warren explained: “Almost three-quarters of all councils in England which deliver social care are struggling to balance their budgets. So far, we have saved £27m with minimal impact on frontline services, whilst still investing in key projects and continuing to be regarded as a good authority in key areas by independent inspectors.

“However, we have to prioritise what we do in the future while putting residents first and ensuring frontline services are protected as far as possible. Clearly this will mean some very difficult choices. We see the local area forums as a key element to help us meet these challenges.

“I recognise that this will have an impact on staff, and these changes will be managed with care and attention.”

Both Swindon Borough Council and Newcastle City Council have announced major job losses just last month, with the former potentially dropping as many as 400 staff to cover a £30m funding gap.

BNES has opened consultation on the plans and is asking local residents to submit their views as the authority looks to stretch its budget across as many services as possible.

Top image: Ian Redding

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