By James Trueman
OLDHAM Council leader Howard Sykes has revealed that up to 500 council jobs could be lost in the next five years.
Councillor Sykes highlighted the need to make substantial cuts to the council’s budget as a reason for the potential job losses.
He said: “The figure of 500 fewer employees is an estimate based upon a realistic assessment on the reduced funding we’re likely to get from Central Government over the next five years.”
Last year, the council made savings of £21 million and next year’s budget is set to save a further £11 million.
Councillor Sykes estimates that a £45 million reduction in spending is needed over the next three years.
To add to these fears, a note sent by Chief Executive Charlie Parker to 600 council employees has warned of a ‘risk’ of redundancies.
Those employed in the administration, management, communications and project management departments are those at risk.
Although a March 11 Council statement said: “Putting staff at risk of redundancy does not mean that they will be made redundant,” Mr Parker has said that redundancies are inevitable in achieving budgetary targets.
He said: “We must make these changes both to save money and to provide better value for money for our Council Tax payers.
“Our aim is to achieve staff reductions through voluntary redundancies and cutting posts that are now vacant, but sadly there will be some compulsory redundancies.”
News of such losses will be hard to swallow for council workers.
It comes after a recent council meeting on how to “deliver better services in the face of reduced funding” was held at the £145 per head luxury Marriott Worsley Park Hotel in Greater Manchester, instead of council chiefs using the recently refurbished Oldham Council meeting rooms.