MORE than 1,300 jobs have now been lost within North Yorkshire County Council in the past three years following savage savings imposed by the Government – and there are more cuts to come.
The Tory leader of the authority, Coun John Weighell, said there had to be a rebalancing in the cost of local government and the public could not afford to pay more and more council tax.
The authority’s full-time equivalent posts have been cut from 15,103 to 13,737 between April 2010 and the end of last year.
Of these 200 were compulsory redundancies while other staff have taken voluntary redundancy or been redeployed and retrained in vacant roles.
More than ten per cent of administrative posts have gone and 13 per cent of managers, with just under three per cent frontline jobs being cut.
Teaching posts are protected, and the county council also has little control over the education budget.
The authority will have cut £54 million by April and has another £24 million to save over the next two years, with more job losses on the cards.
Coun Weighell said: “There are two sides to this. I came onto the council to deliver better services and I think we achieved that very well when there was more money around – but if the money isn’t there we can’t remain at that level of establishment.
“The other side is the public of North Yorkshire. In my view they can’t afford to pay more and more council tax, even if we were allowed to charge it. People don’t like paying more council tax – it is one of the things they dislike paying most.
“We are trying not to make any cuts at all in care of the elderly and safeguarding children, but some of the services people like to have but are less critical are the ones that have taken some of these cuts.
“There is a human cost, with 200 compulsory redundancies.
“We think we will get by over the next financial year, but after that we have no real financial figures. Two years on from now, if the austerity programme continues, it would be a very difficult situation.
“And there will be further job losses, but obviously that will be in a planned way. To reduce budgets gets harder and harder and it would be wrong of me to say there will not be cutbacks in services.
“It is a great challenge, but the expansion of the cost of local government over the first decade of this century was at a level that was not sustainable and there had to be some rebalancing, and we are being asked to do less things.”