Redundancies could be made at Northampton Borough Council as part of plans to make £2.5 million “internal cost savings” in the next financial year.
During a budget meeting at Northampton’s Guildhall this morning, leader of the council David Mackintosh said, in order to make the required savings, a number of vacancies within the council would been left unfilled and a number of jobs could be lost.
He said: “We will do our best to avoid redundancies but we cannot guarantee there will be none. Any staff cuts will be done with as little impact on the public and frontline services as possible.
“We have made other savings by merging some back office services, such as HR and finance, with other authorities, such as the county council and Cambridge.
“We are holding an open door to authorities who we could share services with and, since 2011, we have saved over £850,000 by reducing our senior management staff by more than a half - from 21 to 10.”
Councillor Mackintosh said the savings had allowed the local authority to implement the new ‘living wage’ for all staff of £7.65 per hour from April 1, 2015.
The council has projected that the proposed restructuring will result in a £1.8 million budget surplus in 2015/16 - the first time this has been achieved since the economic downturn in 2010.
Councillor Mackintosh said: “Rather than spend this money, we will set it aside for the future. Following changes announced in George Osborne’s Autumn Statement last week, we need to be prepared to receive less in Government grants. This could cause us problems and we need to be prudent and make sure we will be able to bridge that gap.”
In everyday savings for the public, the council proposed to invest up to £200,000 in extending their ‘Pay on Exit’ scheme to all their ‘surface’ car parks in the town. As with some council owned multi-storey car parks, this means that shoppers will collect a ticket when they enter the car park and, when they leave, they will only be charged for the amount of time they have been parked.
During the meeting, the council also announced it will be freezing council tax for the fifth consecutive year and will be awarding further grants to local businesses.
Councillor Mackintosh said: “Our Business Incentive Scheme, where we contribute £1 for every £5 invested by the private company itself, has already created 120 jobs in the town since April. We will be awarding a further £120,000 in grants to all types of businesses, which will create another 70 jobs and unlock almost £600,000 in private sector investment to the local economy.”