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How many jobs face the axe? COUNCIL: Labour slams Tory plans for pounds 10m savings.

Byline: Les Reid

LABOUR councillors are calling on Conservative-led Coventry City Council to make clear how many jobs would go under a pounds 10 million pound cuts and savings programme.

As exclusively revealed in the Telegraph on Saturday, the council's senior management board has drawn up budget proposals to balance the books next year with pounds 10.3 million in cutbacks.

The board, headed by new chief executive Martin Reeves, says it's necessary to pave the way for years of cuts in funding from government and because all councils' income has been hit by the recession.

Council leaders have pledged to protect frontline services and say they have already identified how to reduce half the budget gap through "efficiency savings" and "cuts in bureaucracy".

Ten senior management posts would go, one from among the council's top ten highest paid executives, and 26 job posts have been earmarked for the axe. But that figure is expected to rise sharply once all council departments are examined.

Labour group deputy leader Coun George Duggins, responding for the first time to the pre-budget report published yesterday, said: "More cuts in services are inevitable with these budget proposals.

"What we're seeing for next year as well as this year are cuts, against a background of a Labour government funding local government more favourably than it ever was under the Conservatives."

Coun Duggins said consultation with staff and unions over job losses, after the council's Conservative cabinet discusses the budget next Tuesday, could not be "meaningful" as managers had not made clear the extent of job losses.

He said the budget schedule for next year had been uniquely brought forward three months with "indecent haste", preventing proper consultation in the run-up to the key budget decisions being taken by the full council in December, rather than next February.

Council leaders say bringing the budget forward would give manager, staff and voluntary organisations, including charities, more time to plan for any budget reductions.

But Coun Duggins said the formal consultation period would still be three months. He said years of Tory council financial "mismanagement" and the need to pay back "overborrowing" had led to "own goals", although he accepted councils were under extreme financial pressure.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Sep 15, 2009
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