County council cuts place more than 200 jobs at risk in Northamptonshire, authority reveals

Northamptonshire County Council announced plans to cut 9.6m last month - but the authority has not revealed how many jobs are at risk until now.
Northamptonshire County Council announced plans to cut 9.6m last month - but the authority has not revealed how many jobs are at risk until now.

Plans to slash the number of libraries in Northampton and halve the Trading Standards workforce place more than 200 jobs at risk, Northamptonshire County Council has revealed.

Last month, bosses at One Angel Square announced plans to cut £9.6 million from next year's budget by potentially handing all medium and small-sized libraries over to community groups, by reducing winter roads gritting and by losing 16 employees from the organisation that sifts out rogue traders in the county, among a raft of other measures.

Councillor Chris Stanbra.

Councillor Chris Stanbra.

Today the authority has confirmed the proposals place 203 staff members at risk in the First for Wellbeing service, the limited company that oversees the county's libraries.

Of that number, 192 are library staff and 11 work at the council's smoking cessation service, which is set to be reduced under the proposals.

It effectively means just over a quarter of the 778 staff at First for Wellbeing are at risk of redundancy in the weeks running up to Christmas.

A Northamptonshire County Council spokesman said: “We have been very clear that due to the unfair settlement from central government and a huge growth in demand and costs of services, we are now in a position where very difficult proposals have to be considered. These proposals are currently subject to a full public consultation period.

“We want to use this consultation to have dialogue with the parish councils, district and borough councils and local communities to see what role we can play together in finding the solutions.”

However, the Liberal Democrats group on the county council believe there is a realistic prospect of about 67 jobs being cut.

Buried on page 58 of the appendix to a lengthy cabinet report on the closure of library services, officers state losing the 21 small and medium libraries would result in the loss of 47 full-time posts.

There are 16 jobs likely to be cut from Trading Standards and four other areas where staff reductions are proposed, one being in roads maintenance.

If all of those four services were to cut at least one staff member, the council would be looking at slashing about 67 jobs at the start of the next financial year in May, according to Councillor Chris Stanbra (Lib Dem, Oakley).

"When you have to make savings on this scale - inevitably people are going to lose their jobs," he said in a barbed comment against the controlling Conservative group.

"It's awful - it is not much of a reward for people that have worked hard in a slimmed down organisation."