Telford & Wrekin Council agrees to shed 530 posts

Up to 530 posts will go at Telford & Wrekin Council as the authority takes steps to cope with a funding shortfall.

At a meeting on Thursday evening the council set out how it would deal with a £20m funding gap.

A council spokesman said the shortfall is caused in part by a £13.6m cut in funding from central government.

Councillors approved the 2011-12 budget which will see a funding gap closed by using savings and reducing spending in some areas.

The gross budget for 2011-12, which includes spending on schools, is £408m. The net budget, which does not take into account the ring-fenced school budget, is £128m.

But the Tory-led council said council tax bills will remain frozen at current levels despite the cuts.

Growing demand

The reduction in the government grant next year follows a £3m reduction in government funding earlier this financial year.

The spokesman said further savings are needed to meet the costs of growing demand for services and other pressures such as inflation and national insurance increases.

Money saving measures include switching off street lights in non-residential areas between midnight and 0500 GMT and offering free bus travel from 0930 GMT instead of from 0900 GMT except on four rural bus routes.

The spokesman said the budget included allocating £144m to create new sports and leisure facilities and continue the Building Schools for the Future programme and £51.7m for the regeneration of the Southwater area in Telford town centre.

Council leader Andrew Eade said: "For the first time in 12 years there will be no rise in council tax, helping to ease the pressure on every home in the borough.

"The national public sector deficit and the scale of resulting grant reductions leaves us with no choice but to make some savings from services to the public.

"Our priority has been to focus our resources on the services that the community tell us are most important - such as new schools, continuing the massive regeneration we have begun across the borough."

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