Up to 140 jobs are to be cut by Croydon council in a bid to save £100 million over the next three years.
At least 100 council workers will lose office jobs in finance and planning to ensure that frontline services – such as “looked-after children” and street cleaning – do not directly suffer from central government spending cuts.
The council’s 2015/2016 budget report, published last week, states that while the council has come under increasing pressure to deliver services to an expanding population, it has faced a 32 per cent reduction in government funding and has already saved £100 million.
The report states that by 2017/2018, there will be a “funding gap” of £100 million, a quarter of the council’s budget.
The round of job losses forms part of the council’s “Croydon Challenge programme” aimed at “making the council more efficient and effective” and protecting the services “that matter most” to its residents.
Councillor Tony Newman, leader of the Labour-lead council, told Eastlondonlines: “The council is having to make cuts as the central Government cuts have taken 100 million pounds from our budget in the last four years and will take a further 100 million pounds in the next three years.”
He added: “The challenge is to get more and more of council services accessible online as this offers significant savings and reduces the need for back office staff.”
The announcement comes after the council revealed plans last month to hold a Fairness Commission assessing how fairly and effectively the council distributes its money, costing £200,000. Conservative councillors were quick to denounce the commission as a “waste of money”.
Vidhi Mohan, Conservative councillor for Fairfield, told ELL that he thought that the council’s cutting of jobs to protect frontline services was just a “spin” from Labour and there was no guarantee that that these services would be protected.
He said: “I am very concerned about the impact of these job losses. My view is clear: the Fairness Commission is a waste of money and it should be scrapped to save jobs.”
In response to criticism from the opposition, Newman replied: “The Fairness Commission is more important than ever as we have to look at how, against this magnitude of cuts, we all provide public services in the future in partnership with both the voluntary and private sectors.”
The final budget decisions will be made by the council in February next year.