Council forced to cut jobs and commission services following “toughest” Govt spending review

JOBS will be lost, services commissioned out and the Town Hall scaled back after the Government demanded that Newham Council save more than �30million over the next year.

That is the grim prognosis from the council’s Acting Chief Executive Kim Bromley-Derry in an exclusive interview with the Recorder.

He revealed that last month’s Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) settlement was “at the worst end of our expectations”.

He said: “This settlement is by far the toughest in my lifetime in local government and I have been in local government for 30 years.

“The truth is there are no options. My big fear is many other parts of government that have been set challenging targets don’t meet them and local government has to make up the difference.

“It would be wrong of me to say next year is not going to be incredibly difficult. We are not ruling out anything because we are only two weeks after the CSR.”

As the Town Hall are heavily dependent on grant funding, chiefs won’t know where exactly to make the cuts until the local government settlement and the schools settlement are announced next month.

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But Mr Bromley-Derry revealed they are working on a figure of about 30 per cent savings out of their budget in the next three or four years.

A significant number of council workers could lose their jobs and current vacancies will not be filled.

“It would be inconcievable to take 30 per cent out of the organisation without having to lose staff,” said Mr Bromley-Derry “I would suggest that we are looking to save about �70million and 80 per cent of our costs are staff. The reality is it is going to be a significant number.”

It may be that workers are transferred to voluntary sector organisations which, along with other local authorities, the council would commission to provide services.

He said that the council would be commissioning more services than they provide in the future and would not rule out working with private companies if they offered better value for money. “If it is 10 per cent, 30 per cent or 40 per cent of services, we will have to wait and see.”

But he vowed: “One of the commitments is wherever possible not to affect frontline services and not to reduce services for vulnerable people.”