Northumberland council leader refuses to rule out compulsory redundancies ahead of budget
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Cllr Glen Sanderson made the comments at a meeting of the council’s corporate services and economic growth scrutiny committee.
It comes as the council gears up to the release of its budget for the coming year amid increasing pressure on local authority finances across the country.
The Conservative leader made a similar statement last year, with 12 youth workers later made redundant and replaced with youth support workers in the council’s family hubs.
Cllr Sanderson said: “It is still my wish that there will be no compulsory redundancies, unless there is absolute need for it.
“If we can possibly avoid it, there will be no compulsory redundancies – but I can’t rule it out. I don’t want to see anybody lose their job compulsorily if we can avoid it. That still remains the case absolutely for me.”
The leader faced questions from opposition councillors on his stance.
Labour’s Cllr Lynne Grimshaw said: “You say you’re going to try and avoid compulsory redundancies.
“Is this on top of the cuts that you’re going to be doing? Because I know savings have got to be made, but there is not a lot of posts being filled and that is bound to have an impact on services which have always tried to fluff it over.
“Now you’re saying there could be redundancies, you hope not but you’re not ruling it out. That worries me because of the service and the impact it could have on the people we represent.”
Cllr Sanderson responded: “For the coming year it is my hope and strong political steer that I don’t want to see any. I can’t talk about longer term future, but the same view will be held by me.
“I can’t rule it out, but as long as I am leader that will be very much my view.”
The next meeting of the committee will see the initial budget presented to members, with all councillors invited to have their say ahead of the full council meeting in February where a decision will be made on whether to implement the budget for the coming financial year.