Essex

Essex County Council admits 'more pain' from cuts to come

The leader of Essex County Council has admitted there is "still more pain to come" as the authority tries to save £300m from its annual budget by 2013.

The Conservative-run authority said it had already saved £160m since 2009 as part of its Transformation Plan.

Conservative leader Peter Martin said £110m had been saved from its running costs and procurement, while £14m came from a reduction in services.

He said: "We've gone through a very difficult time in the past few years."

He added: "I know it's painful and the whole transformation programme is painful for our staff, but I think we've been very successful in being able to do that [save money].

IBM advice

"But there is more pain to come."

Council services that have been affected include a reduction in library opening hours, the closure of the Connexions careers service and a scale back of school transport

It has also emerged the council brought the running of its savings plan back in-house last summer.

In 2009, the authority announced it had commissioned IBM to oversee the process.

Mr Martin said the deal had not achieved the savings the authority had been looking for, but the authority was still taking external advice from IBM.

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