|100+ Council Jobs 'At Risk' in Latest Round Of Budget Cuts|
Poor settlement means 'tough choices' says Council Leader
119 jobs are at risk as Ealing Council aims to reach its target of £85million of budget reductions by April 2015.
At last night's Cabinet meeting, Councillors agreed plans to cut a further £5.7million as well as proposals involving 'invest-to-save' of £1.3million by April 2016, all contributing to the £85million target.
119 staff have been put at risk of redundancy and consultation has already begun with affected employees. The council says it is streamlining management structures and senior management is being cut by 30%. Staff are being offered voluntary redundancy and reduced working hours and redeployment.There has been a freeze on recruitment to vacant posts.
Councillor Julian Bell, leader of the council, said: ''In the next few weeks we will find out how much money the council will be given by the government to fund our services from April 2013.
''Ealing had one of the worst settlements in London in 2010, leaving us with no choice but to make some very tough choices. We have done everything possible to minimise the impact on our ‘front line’ and I hope that this time around we will get a fairer settlement so we can protect local services.''
Meanwhile, it's forecast that an additional 780 reception places are needed in the borough in the next three years. Councillors have agreed to fund four new ‘forms of entry’ at primary schools across the borough but recognised this may not be enough and they would need around £22.7million required to fund more places.
In the past four years, 25 primary schools have already been expanded and the council is working with a number of others to identify how best to expand existing sites. It is also seeking suitable locations for new schools. Any plans for new places are subject to planning permission.
The most recent expansion to be approved involves the permanent enlargement of West Acton Primary School from 60 students in each year group to 90. In addition, Acton’s first unit for students with autism spectrum disorder will be built at the school.
£7.5million is to be spent to expand and improve special education needs provision in the borough, which is also seeing a spike in demand as numbers of children increase.
Councillor Patricia Walker, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “Over the past few years birth rates have rocketed, as have the numbers of families moving into the borough, which has left us with a shortfall in primary places.
“Every child has the right to a good education and we are determined to create purpose-built school places that provide the sort of environment where children can thrive and develop. The latest birth-rate statistics show that the numbers of children will continue to rise over the next five years so, despite the severe financial pressures the council faces, we must make this investment or we simply won’t have enough school places.
“I would like to reassure people they will be consulted about new plans to develop sites and their views will be considered.”
Other key investments agreed included £1.7million over the next two years to improve local shopping parades and £800,000 to upgrade Ealing town centre, which has been partly funded through the Dickens Yard development agreement.
28th November 2012