Hundreds more jobs at risk as Hull City Council faces £30m budget cut
HUNDREDS more jobs at Hull City Council are expected to be axed over the next two years because of budget cuts.
The grim pre-Christnmas message was delivered at a full council meeting less than 24 hours after communities secretary Eric Pickles described his funding settlement for local councils as "fair".
However, council officials in Hull say provisional figures suggest the authority will see a £30.3m reduction in funding from Whitehall over the two years.
If confirmed, it would mean a 17.6 per cent cut in the amount of money the council currently receives from the Government.
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Deputy council leader Councillor Daren Hale said: "The required savings we will have to make are likely to mean the number of jobs in the council will reduce significantly over the next two years.
"It also means if services are to be maintained then this will need to done at lower cost.
"Inevitably, the character and style of some of those services will have to change."
About 1,000 staff left the council under a voluntary redundancy programme in March last year as part of the first wave of Whitehall funding cuts to local government.
Another 240 back-office posts at the authority are currently under review with most expected to be axed in the new year as part of a separate drive to save about £3m a year.
However, the scale of the new funding reductions make more job losses at the Guildhall almost inevitable.
An emergency cabinet briefing was being held this morning over the issue.
Cllr Hale accused Mr Pickles of "smoke and mirrors tricks" in his announcement and disguising the true extent of the funding cuts being faced by councils.
"Mr Pickles has spoken about small reductions in funding for Hull, referring to a reduction in spending power of just 1.4 per cent in 2013-14.
"However, no information has been presented to explain how this figure is arrived at and the council has still not received the detailed information it requires to fully understand the implications of the headline numbers that have been mentioned.
"The reality is rather more stark."
Cllr Hale has already suggested he would support an increase in council tax charges as one way of reducing the funding shortfall.
Council tax bills in Hull have been frozen for the past three years.
Council leader Councillor Steve Brady said: "Difficult decisions are going to have to be made.
"We can't magic the money up from nowhere. We have to deal with the cards we are dealt with."
Cllr Brady said local government was being unfairly singled out for continued funding cuts.
He said: "I would like to see the Government look at its own structures and organisations because we have taken our fair share of these cuts."