Council job cuts frozen for year

MORE jobs are likely to be shed at East Lindsey District Council - but probably not for another 12 months.

In a budget statement to the executive board’s February meeting, portfolio holder for finance Coun Colin Davie expressed confidence that “fewer than five” staff would lose their jobs during the latest round of cuts.

But he revealed the authority would “proactively review the possibility of further staff reductions in order to deliver further savings in 2012-13”.

By working with unions and service managers, he expressed hopes that these could be achieved through voluntary redundancies.

Coun Davie confirmed his continued intention to propose a nil council tax increase - with no cuts to frontline services - at the March 2 meeting of the full council.

His presentation to the board was praised by colleagues, including council leader Coun Doreen Stephenson, who described it as “positive”, and Coun Adam Grist who exclaimed: “Good old Colin!”

Chief executive Nigel Howells said the authority was “ahead of the game “ in its financial management - notably through its agreement to share services with South Holland District Council through two authorities’ joint venture, Compass Point Business Services

The board noted that ELDC will receive a grant of £133, 500 from Whitehall as a reward for freezing council tax.

This is equivalent to the amount that would have been raised if the council were to be increased by 2.5 per cent.

Asked after the meeting if he had considered the more radical step of cutting council tax, the portfolio holder said this would be seen as “reckless political opportunism” in the run-up to May’s local elections. According to a report to the board, the council tax increase for 2012-13, may be about 2.5%.