Leeds City Council has warned that it might have to cut 199 full time posts in order to save £17.6m as it looks for ways to cope with the impact of the pandemic and funding reductions.
A report presented to Leeds City Council’s executive board on Wednesday set out savings proposals for the financial year 2021/22.
The council’s financial gap for the year is estimated at £118.8m. Around £59.1m is the result of the financial impact of COVID-19 with the remaining £59.7m the result of previous financial pressures.
The council anticipates total reductions in its workforce of 816 full time posts, although it stresses that it is doing all it can to avoid compulsory redundancies.
Savings will also be sought through, among other measures, the closure of community centres, the stopping of childcare delivery from a number of sites, a 10% reduction of funding to a number of discretionary services with working age adults equating to £381,000.
‘The impact of coronavirus combined with national reductions to local government budgets over the last decade has been of a scale nobody could have predicted,’ said council leader Judith Blake.
‘There is no doubt that without further national funding there is a major risk to the services and facilities the council offers to the people of Leeds.
‘We will make every effort to protect frontline services and we will do everything possible to not make compulsory redundancies. However, some incredibly tough decisions now need to be taken because of the impact of the pandemic following a decade of austerity.
‘We continue to engage and speak with government regarding this issue and we are pressing the case on behalf of the people of Leeds. If the Government listens and supports the council with more funding then the financial gap in next year’s budget will become smaller and the impact on council services will reduce.’