Coventry City Council Eyes Job Losses Amid £19m Grants Axe

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By Ian Silvera | December 4, 2013 5:16 AM EST

Coventry council has a 10-year plan (Reuters)

Coventry City Council expects to slash more jobs as it tries to balance £19m in cuts from government grants.

Council finance officers said that a budget gap of £12.4m ($20.3m, €14.9m) for 2014/15 would be met as long as ambitious savings identified through the authority's "ABC Programme" and approved in previous budgets were delivered.

But they warned that the budget gap would rise to £50m by 2016 unless "drastic action" were taken to make major changes to services across the council.

The council's pre-budget report revealed that the local authority "anticipated" cutting more jobs on top of more than 1,000 redundancies that have already been made.

"The council has operated several early retirement/voluntary redundancy windows in recent years as the key mechanism for reducing staffing levels," the report said.

"It is anticipated that this mechanism will continue to be used periodically to enable the council to continue to reduce employee numbers over the course of the medium term."

The authority, which employs 6,300 people, stressed that it was continuing to manage the impact on staffing with a focus on redeploying displaced workers and avoiding compulsory redundancies "where possible".

But Cllr Damian Gannon, cabinet member for finance and resources, said he could not estimate future council job losses.

"These reductions mean we have no choice but to become a smaller organisation, resulting in further additional job losses," said Gannon.

"I am not in a position to put a figure on the number of positions that we will lose. We will seek to work with trade union representatives at every step of the way to ensure that we can get through this difficult period together and I thank them for their constructive engagement with these processes so far."

The pre-budget report also disclosed that £4m in savings from children's services planned in previous budget reports would not be taken following a rise in the number of vulnerable children needing council support across the city.

In addition, an increase of £250,000 has also been proposed to help tackle domestic violence.

The council claimed that savings through restructuring and streamlining council departments would net £1.25m a year with a further £100,000 being found through not giving senior managers a pay rise for the fourth year running.

A rise in council tax of 31p a week for the average Coventry household was proposed in the report.

The government grant cut for 2014/15 is worth £19m - a reduction of 11% on 2013/14.

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