William Eichler 25 February 2016

Fife Council will axe 2,000 jobs

The Scottish council needs to make £91m worth of savings and so will be cutting 2,000 jobs over the next three years.

This is on top of the 2,000 local authority positions it has lost since 2013.

The council, which is setting its budget tomorrow, needs to find £38m of savings this year alone.

The majority of the job losses will be through early retirement or voluntary redundancy, rather than as a result of compulsory redundancy.

However, council leader David Ross warned The Courier: ‘It might come to that.’

‘Fife Council faces the most difficult financial challenge in its history,’ he said.

‘We always knew funding was going to be tight this coming year but as a result of John Swinney’s budget statement on December 16, things got a lot worse.’

Last December John Swinney, the cabinet secretary for finance, employment and sustainable growth in the Scottish government, announced local government funding would be cut by 3.5% — or £350m—in the coming financial year.

Prior to the Scottish budget statement Fife’s financial advisors estimated the council would have to save £21m in the coming year and a total of £75m from its budget of around £750m over the following 3 years.

As a result of John Swinney’s budget statement Fife Council now faces an additional £17m cut in its grant and must now save £38m this year and around £91m over the next three years.

The Scottish government’s austerity budget — in part a response to Westminster’s funding cuts—was criticised by council leaders at the time who described it as ‘unacceptable’ and warned 15,000 jobs would be lost.

Cllr David O’Neill, leader of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), said at the time: ‘This is a budget that hits the council workforce in terms of job losses, it hits the child in care, it hits the elderly struggling with dementia and the vulnerable adults, all of whom solely rely on the support that only a council can provide.’

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