Council vows to avoid cuts in full-time staff

Council leader Ron Round
Council leader Ron Round
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KNOWSLEY Council insist there will be no compulsory redundancies for permanent staff, despite agreeing to save £23.6m in the next 12 months.

Town Hall chiefs say the 2011-12 budget has been set to protect frontline services and freeze council tax - in the face of a 20 per cent reduction in funding from central Government.

The majority of savings will be made through “efficiencies” including reduced back office and support services, 430 voluntary redundancies, managed redeployment and early retirements.

There will also be £4.3m saved from senior management posts.

Importantly, plans to revitalise Prescot town centre are still set to be developed, eligibility for social care will be maintained and the replacement of street lighting will also go ahead.

Knowsley 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.

“We have had to take some incredibly tough decisions to meet our huge budget shortfall, but we have remained firm in our belief that we must not cut frontline services.

“Our vision is to improve the lives of people in Knowsley and, although our resources are severely diminished, we are continuing to invest in projects which will have a positive impact on our residents and communities.”

Coun Round added: “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.

“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.”