Spending Review: Barnsley council to axe 335 posts

Image caption,
Barnsley council has to make £40m savings over the next four years

Barnsley council has announced it is to shed up to 335 jobs early next year.

Letters have been sent to more than 1,500 employees to tell them their jobs might be affected.

The move comes just weeks after the council said it was cutting 156 posts with the privatisation of the town's home help service.

Ray Oldroyd, Barnsley branch secretary for Unison, said: "This is going to have a major impact on frontline services across communities."

Union leaders have called a protest rally in the town centre next Wednesday to coincide with the announcement of the government's Spending Review.

Mr Oldroyd said some council staff had been left "distraught" by news of the looming job cuts.

"It is absolutely grim," he said.

"We are having to sit in meetings with our members who are being told that they are going to lose their income very early next year.

"That is families who are dependent on that pay and it's going to really badly impact on communities in Barnsley."

The council is looking to cut costs by about £40m over the next four years and said a total of 1,200 staff would probably lose their jobs over that period.

Council leader Steve Houghton said all departments would be affected.

"Anyone who says you can take out £40m of savings, and in our case over the next four years lose 1,200 staff, and it not affect the public is a nonsense."

Mr Houghton said he expected that streets would be cleaned less often, libraries may be closed and maintenance on parks and other public areas would be scaled back to make savings.

The council said in its letter to staff that it was entering a 90-day consultation period on the job cuts proposal and hoped to keep compulsory redundancies to a minimum.

Elsewhere in South Yorkshire, Doncaster council has announced cuts to its senior management as part of plans to reduce spending by £80m over the next four years.

It is proposing to cut the number of departmental directors from six to four and the number of assistant directors by about a third from 22.

The changes will bring together adult services and many of the functions related to neighbourhoods and communities under one director.

All the council support services, such as finance, legal, human resources and customer contact, will grouped together under a new Director of Finance and Corporate Services.

Rotherham council said it was expecting to make budget cuts of between 10 and 30% but was waiting until next week's announcement before any detailed decisions were made.

Sheffield City Council said if its budget was cut by the 30% it expected spending on services would have to drop by £200m over the next four years.

It has already made £6.5m of savings in the current financial year and last year reduced spending by £13m.

A council spokesman said it had no immediate plans to make redundancies but staffing levels were currently being reviewed.

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