130 Knowsley Council jobs face axe

Sheena Ramsey
Sheena Ramsey

Knowsley Council is to axe 130 jobs in the next financial year in a bid to balance the books in the face of swingeing Government cuts.

Despite having already made £60m worth of savings since 2010, the council is facing a further deficit of £34m over the next two years.

Town Hall chiefs say the necessary savings can only be achieved through reducing the level of services which the authority provides and reducing its workforce.

Proposed measures include cutting 130 jobs in 2015/16, cutting opening hours at the borough’s libraries, reducing highways and environmental maintenance and increasing e-billing and online services.

The council’s workforce has already been cut by a quarter since 2010, mainly through voluntary redundancies and early retirements.

A further £810,000 worth of savings has recently been identified from a reduction in the council’s senior management team.

Last week, chief executive Sheena Ramsey stepped down. Her successor, Mike Harden, will be on a substantially reduced pay package - £160,000 as opposed to £192,000 a year.

Knowsley Council leader Ron Round said: “Knowsley’s funding has been cut more than any other council in the country. We are doing all we can to protect services for residents but we are having to make some difficult decisions about reducing the services we provide as well as our own workforce.

“The wide-ranging proposals, together with the job losses, reflect just how far we are having to go to make the required savings. We will be talking to our staff and communities regarding the proposals and how we can limit the impact they may have.”

Coun Round added: “Unfortunately, the 130 jobs we need to lose next year will still not solve our long-term funding problems. Unless a future Government finds a way to give us the funding we deserve, further service reductions are inevitable.

“We will, of course, do everything we can to maximise the numbers who leave voluntarily but the scale of the funding cuts means that compulsory redundancies are unavoidable.

“We did hope that we would be able to reduce the number of job losses by reviewing our terms and conditions. It is disappointing that we have been unable to progress these discussions with the trade unions.”