Social care staff face axe as three councils cut jobs

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Social care professionals are among staff at three English councils that are planning to cut 2,400 jobs between them.

Hampshire, Norfolk and East Sussex councils announced the redundancies after the 28% budget cuts imposed on local authorities between 2010-11 and 2015, unveiled in the government’s comprehensive spending review in October.

However, East Sussex is not expecting to axe any social workers.

Hampshire is cutting 1,200 jobs and is asking all departments to make 8% savings, although it will ring-fence child protection and eligibility criteria for adult social care.

Norfolk Council is axing 1,000 jobs in a bid to save £155m over the next three years. Between 150 to 200 positions will go at East Sussex Council as part of plans to save £37m in 2011-12.

Hampshire Council plans to save £55m over the next year, including £22m by cutting IT and other overheads, renegotiating contracts, cutting senior management costs and freezing recruitment. Social workers will be allowed to apply for voluntary redundancy, but a spokesperson said this would only be authorised if service delivery was not affected.

In a report to councillors, Norfolk Council’s leader Derrick Murphy, of the Conservatives, said: “I acknowledge the pain [the job cuts] will cause for staff and their families. We will do our utmost to manage these reductions with as few compulsory redundancies as possible. However, compulsory redundancies will be necessary to achieve the speed of transformation we seek and balance the council’s books.”

Public sector union Unison criticised the government for forcing councils to take such drastic action. General secretary Dave Prentis said: “In Hampshire, children and adults’ services look likely to be hardest hit by these huge cuts. How will vulnerable people who rely on these vital services cope with such a strained service?”

Learn more about councils cutting social care spending in our cuts map

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