‘200 jobs to go’ under Newham Council budget plan

UP to 200 Newham Council jobs could be at risk over the next year as bosses look to trim almost �50 million from their budget.

Fifteen PCSOs will also be axed and council tenants will see their rents rise by almost seven per cent.

But council tax will be frozen for the third year running and free swimming for youngsters and pensioners will continue, despite the loss of central government funding.

Free school meals for primary school children will also stay, with Newham set to become the only authority in England operating the policy from September.

The Workplace employment service will continue, and the authority’s flagship free music lesson initiative will be rolled out to Year Five pupils.

Mayor Sir Robin Wales said the council was “well-placed” to deal with funding cuts, having already slashed �70m over the last three years.

But a Cabinet report warns further savings will need to be identified in order to cope with the continued fall in central government support.

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These are likely to include altering staff terms and conditions to reduce sick pay and holidays – and may involve further redundancies.

A report to an emergency council meeting last November said up to 5,376 employees could be sacked and re-hired if they refuse to accept the changes.

Hundreds more jobs could also be at risk.

Bosses are also proposing to use �8.5m from the council’s balances during the next financial year in order to balance the books.

Sir Robin said: “The front-loaded nature of the cuts means there will inevitably be some tough decisions ahead about how the council provides services to residents.

“I have been very clear throughout this process that I will do all I can to protect jobs, as well as services that matter to our residents.”

The proposals have been put forward to deal with a massive cut in financial support from central government.

Newham Council is losing �43.7m in the next financial year and a total of �75m over the next four years – a total cut of 25 per cent.

The budget proposals are set to be put to the vote at a meeting of the full council on February 28.