More than 350 job losses expected at Norfolk County Council in 2012/13

Officials predict 360 job positions will be axed at Norfolk's largest council in 2012/13.

The Conservative administration at Norfolk County Council today revealed its budget plans for the next 12 months, including spending �5.4m on vulnerable children, �3.5m to repair roads and �3m to help create jobs for youngsters.

But the authority is attempting to support projects in 2012/13, thanks largely to an �8.6m government grant for a proposed council tax freeze, while also being required to cut costs by �44m.

This is because the council's government grant will reduce by �17.1m in the next 12 months.

The authority expects this to result in 360 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions being cut, which is a figure that includes people employed in part-time and full-time jobs.

Further reductions will also be required in 2013/14.

The council insists the forthcoming job losses will come as no surprise to the people affected, as the authority is following a savings programme agreed in last year's Big Conversation budget consultation.

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Jonathan Dunning, Unison branch secretary for Norfolk, said the reductions were expected as the council had to make savings following government cash cuts.

But he said: 'I think generally speaking staff morale is considerably down on the whole compared to a year or two ago. I think it's inevitable.

'If you are looking at such swingeing cuts the county council has taken, there's a degree of uncertainty across the workforce and it's not limited to areas described in the Big Conversation.

'The budget is set on a year by year basis and there's scope for the county council to make changes in year two or three on what was consulted on a year ago.'

As reported, 750 FTEs were expected to be cut from the workforce in 2011/12 affecting an estimated 1,000 people. This was in an attempt to help the council make savings of up to �60m.

By the end of November 2011, 443 redundancies had made been equating to 322 FTE posts. A further 234 staff had been redeployed.

Ian Mackie, deputy leader and cabinet member for finance and performance at the council, said: 'The Big Conversation set a clear direction of travel for Norfolk County Council last year to help us weather the economic downturn and support council taxpayers through tough times. The challenge to do more with less resource remains the same, but I am delighted that together we have risen to the challenge so well.'

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