1,400 jobs at risk as Hull Council shakes up services to save £40m

AS MANY as 1,400 jobs could be axed at Hull Council as the authority attempts to cut more than £40m from its budget.

The losses, representing almost a fifth of its workforce, will be accompanied by a widespread shake-up of services under draft budget proposals announced yesterday that include charges for adult social care.

The Liberal Democrat-run council said it is facing a huge cut in resources from central Government but the opposition Labour group called it a "nightmare scenario" that would devastate the city's economy. The total cost to the authority will be about 50m when redundancy settlements are added on.

In some areas the voluntary sector and local communities will be asked to step in to cover gaps in service the council will no longer provide.

Council leader Carl Minns said: "This will be a challenging couple of years for the public sector in Hull but by working together with other public sector agencies, the voluntary sector and the general public we will be able to keep the services that people rely on going.

"We will have to accept, however, that with falling revenue budgets these services may have to be provided in different ways or through different providers.

"I did not come into politics to make cuts. But I am paid to face reality and deal with things as they are and not as I would like them to be."

He added: "It is this reality, this mess, that the council is being asked to help solve and it is this reality of Government overspending that has put us in this position."

Coun Minns said 1,400 job losses was a "worst case scenario" and he would work with unions and colleagues to reduce the figure.

Some of the most radical proposals concern changes to care for adults and vulnerable children.

Under the proposals, the council will stop providing residential care for adults, introduce charges for adult social care, and reduce the number of children in care.

Street cleaning services will prioritise "high profile" areas, and there will also be fewer road repairs, and reduced opening times and increased charges at leisure centres.

The single biggest saving, of 9.8m, would come from "streamlining" children and young people's services.

Hull branch secretary of the union Unison Mike Adamson said the cuts would be "massively damaging".