William Eichler 22 August 2016

Bristol offers voluntary severance option to save millions

Bristol City Council is offering its staff the option of taking voluntary redundancy in a bid to save £29m.

The authority hopes to reduce its number of full-time roles by approximately 1,000 to contribute towards closing its remaining budget gap.

The city’s Labour mayor Marvin Rees warned last June—shortly after his inauguration—the council would have to make substantial savings due to Government cuts and the growing demand on services.

Bristol must find £44m in savings by next year in order to address a £60m budget gap, he said.

‘I have inherited a huge financial challenge which is proving bigger than we knew even a month or two ago,’ he said today.

‘We continue to make savings in many ways, but we cannot close the gap without reducing the number of jobs at the council.

‘This scheme is about giving people the option to leave voluntarily, which is the right thing to do. We will support staff as best we can throughout this difficult time.’

Responding to the announcement, Unison branch secretary Steve Crawshaw said: ‘This dire financial situation is not the fault of public service workers who’ve had a tough deal for years now.

‘It is a result of a funding deal from the Government that has left cities to pick up the pieces from ministers’ lack of a sensible plan.’

‘Further cuts will hit the most vulnerable in the city, worsening the homelessness crisis, and further entrenching inequality. The Mayor needs to confront Theresa May and say ‘enough is enough’,’ he added.

Speaking to The MJ last week, Mayor Rees said being mayor was not about running the council but was instead about ‘capturing the collective impact of people'.

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