THREE hundred jobs will be axed and services slashed in Southampton’s deepest ever council budget cuts.
Labour leaders last night confirmed plans for record job losses, cuts to services and hikes in charges that will slash £20m from the council’s budget next year – with the prospect of even more pain in coming years.
Labour and the unions have blamed Government funding cuts and Conservative economic policies for the dire state of the council’s finances.
But the leader of the last Tory administration to run the city council claimed the current council chiefs were responsible for a “disaster” which had betrayed staff who trusted them to protect their jobs and pay.
Children’s services will be hardest hit with £6m of cuts and 126 job losses planned.
The council’s residential children’s unit for traumatised eight to 12-year-olds, Our House, will close.
The council’s youth service, which aims to create opportunities for 11 to 25-year-olds, will be axed with 30 job losses.
The budget for the city’s Sure Start children’s centres will also be cut by £1m a year.
Labour bosses, who pledged to do all they could to stop job losses and avoid compulsory redundancies, are proposing to axe 279 full-time equivalent posts – the council’s largest ever jobs cull. It is thought that 327 of the council’s 4,000 staff are affected.
Park keepers, street cleaners, librarians, social workers and care managers are also among the casualties.
Cllr Royston Smith, whose Tory group was ousted from power in May, said: “It’s worse than I expected. The word betrayal doesn’t come close to what they have done to people who trusted they would have pay restored and their jobs would be safe. Now we know 327 people are going to lose their jobs.
“Everyone is going to pay more and get less. They could not have managed the budget process worse if they had tried. It’s a disaster.”