Lincolnshire council budget meeting hears of job cuts

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More than 650 staff have expressed an interest in voluntary redundancy as Lincolnshire County Council looks to shed 900 posts.

The news came as the authority approved its budget for next year, which includes £57m in savings.

Officials said they would do all they could to protect frontline services despite the cuts to staff.

The local government union, Unison, which held a protest outside, said such losses would hurt the most vulnerable.

The Conservative-led authority is looking to save £125m over the next four years due to falls in government grants.

Public protection

The £57m austerity programme - which represents 10% of non-school spending - includes cuts to services for young people, public transport subsides and adult social care.

One of the worst hit is trading standards. Nigel Brumby, the department's union representative, said its budget was being cut by about 50% with staff reduced from 72 to 29.

He said: "It is quite a hidden service, we don't get publicised because we try to prevent breaches of legislation in area like food contamination and doorstep crime. But all its services will face a cutback."

The council is consulting on an expected 900 job losses, though additional savings may take this over 1,000.

Councillor Kelly Smith, portfolio holder for resources who presented the budget, said the council had to make choices.

"It is impossible to make these sorts of savings without affecting some service areas but we have been very clear our priorities are safeguarding and public protection - safeguarding children, fire and rescue, police community support officers.

"But there has to be some reductions somewhere and we are legally obliged to produce a balanced budget."

The budget also confirmed a council tax freeze, an increase in road maintenance budgets and no library closures for at least two years.

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