London

Sutton Council to lose 500 jobs by 2015

Sutton Council has decided to cut its budget by £30m over the next four years and lose up to 500 jobs.

The Liberal Democrat council voted to cut £13.8m from its 2011/12 budget of £140.4m and said it expected to achieve savings of 20% across the board.

The south London council said it needed to cut between 300 to 500 jobs from its 2,500-strong workforce by 2014/15.

It plans to save £100,000 this year by sharing human resources services with neighbouring Merton Council.

A total of 29 London councils have finalised budget cuts for the next financial year, with more than 8,000 jobs being lost.

Main libraries open

At the budget meeting on Monday night, the council said it would increase the amount spent on "looked after children" by £2.1m in 2011/12.

Councillor John Drage, who is the executive member on finance and efficiency, said: "We started our root and branch review of everything we do more than 18 months ago.

"While other councils are cutting the money they give to the voluntary sector, where cost-effective we will give them more - and that's what we have allocated, £200,000 more for the voluntary sector next year."

The council said it had cut 15% of its executive head positions and will now have one chief executive and four directors.

It has also "systematically reviewed" the use of agency staff, consultants and temporary staff. The job cuts over four years does not include staff at schools and colleges.

The council said it intended to keep all its main libraries open and continue "some form of weekly waste collection".

Local authorities face an average 9.9% cut in government formula grant funding in 2011-12.

However, the plans already announced by London councils stand to save the public purse more than £1bn over three years.

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