Knowsley Council to avoid compulsory redundancies

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A Merseyside council has said it can make £24m of savings without the need for compulsory redundancies.

Knowsley Council's cabinet met earlier to finalise details of how it would make the savings in 2011/12.

It said it had proposed a budget for next year which would protect frontline services and freeze council tax.

About 430 jobs which it previously said would have to be lost will now go through voluntary redundancy, early retirement and redeployment.

Councillors also agreed to continue with plans to regenerate Kirkby, Stockbridge Village and Prescot town centre.

It said savings would be made by shaving £4.3m from senior management posts and cutting back office costs.

'Major challenges'

But the council said there were still major challenges ahead, with more savings to be found over the next three years.

The proposals will be considered by the council at a meeting on 2 March.

Council leader Ron Round said: "The harsh cuts imposed on us by the government mean that this is undoubtedly the most difficult budget we have ever had to set.

"I am particularly pleased that we have been able to manage the reduction in our staff numbers through voluntary means.

"Around three quarters of our employees are Knowsley residents, which means that any staffing reductions will have a major impact on our communities, so I am grateful to our staff and trade union colleagues for their support and co-operation."

He added: "However I must stress that there are still major challenges ahead and we are already working on ways to meet the further government cuts anticipated over the next three years."

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