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Row after post election job cuts

THELEADERof Wiltshire Liberal Democrats has accused Wiltshire Council of keeping upcoming job cuts quiet over the election period.

Wiltshire Council is expected to ask 340 full time staff to consider taking voluntary redundancy, as it seeks to save a minimum of £4million from staffing costs.

The proposal, which was due to be considered by the cabinet on Tuesday, is a requirement of the 2013-2014 budget approved by the council in February.

Jon Hubbard, leader of Wiltshire Liberal Democrats said, “The cabinet paper gives no indication of which services will be hit by the job cuts, nor any indication of what due diligence and risk assessments have been undertaken to ensure that essential front line services will be protected.

“What we see here is yet another example of the worst kind of decision making. And what really stinks is that this decision must have been made before the elections, and the people of Wiltshire were not told the truth about the Tory economic plans for the county.”

Wiltshire Council says the plans were put forward in February, when the budget was approved by the council.

A spokesperson said, “Our number one priority is to protect frontline services which support the most vulnerable in our communities and we will continue to work innovatively to ensure this happens.

“More people are depending on the services Wiltshire Council provides, and this, alongside a reduction in funding from central government means we need to continue to make savings.

“To do this we are looking at the longer-term picture and not just focusing on the year ahead, therefore, we need to make savings of £27million this year and £123million over the next four years. We will continue to develop modern services around the needs of the customer and not merely rely on traditional and outdated methods of providing services.

“To ensure this happens we need to have the right people in the right posts and the right staffing structure. As well as proposing to reduce the number of posts, we will also be making savings by working more efficiently, removing duplication and waste and improving how we purchase goods and services.”

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