Hundreds of jobs to go as Carmarthenshire Council braces itself for £25-30m cuts
HUNDREDS of jobs will be lost as Carmarthenshire Council braces itself for expected cuts in the region of £25 and £30 million this week.
Welsh Government Finance Minister Jane Hutt has revealed cuts for councils in her draft budget which will see local government spending fall from £4.648bn this year to £4.466bn next year — a cut in cash terms of 3.91 per cent or 5.81 per cent.
The announcement on cuts will be made by the Welsh Government next week, and Carmarthenshire Council Chief Executive, Mark James and Council Leader Kevin Madge have both given a stark appraisal of the situation they are facing.
Chief executive, Mark James said: "We are expecting cuts which will amount to somewhere in the region of £25m to £30m next year and the year after alone.
"It will be extremely challenging for many councils. Whilst having to make massive cuts, councils are being expected in many cases to do even more. It just isn't possible to do both."
The finance minister stressed the priority was to protect health, schools and universal benefits such as free prescriptions, school breakfasts and bus passes for older people.
Council leader, Kevin Madge added that it was hard to speculate on until they see the actual figures and members of the council have determined where and what cuts are to be made.
"Again, it is not possible yet to say exactly how many jobs will have to go to balance the budget," he said.
"It is inevitable however that many hundreds of jobs will be lost, as we make these huge reductions to our budget.
"Letters have been sent out offering redundancy and early retirement and of course this would impact on any decisions on numbers of jobs that might have to be lost."