MORE than 100 jobs could be lost as Slough’s cash-strapped council aims to claw back £2.4million worth of savings.

Councillors sitting on the place scrutiny panel were presented updates to the cutbacks, price spikes, and income generators Slough Borough Council (SBC) are currently eyeing in order to fill its financial woes.

Over the coming years, the local authority will have to ‘downsize’ and cut back its spending on services and staff. This will require restructuring and allocating money where it is most needed.

The executive director of customer and community Richard West has been tasked to save over £8m by next year.

Royal Borough Observer: Richard WestRichard West

At the panel meeting on Wednesday, January 12, members were told the council may have to “delete” 104 jobs within the place and community directorate in order to save up to £2.4m.

This will leave SBC with a headcount of 703. However, 99 posts are unoccupied, 54 vacant jobs are filled by agency staff, and 38 are undertaken by zero-hour contractors.

Speaking at the meeting, Mr West said: “It’s not as simple as saying just don’t fill the vacant posts because a number of those vacant posts are critical roles [and] are not filled at the moment.

“We’re not providing services that we have to provide or elements of activity that we have to provide. So, there are some yins and yangs within that.

“Clearly, it gives us some headroom and a number of those vacant posts won’t need to be kept and so they can be deleted without there being a consequence to an individual.”

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On the other hand, 480 people are in permanent posts and this restructure could employ staff in 17 new roles.

Some posts in regeneration could go since SBC has halted large amounts of spending on large capital projects in order to save money. However, that will only save money in the capital budget, separate from the general budget which money from that is used on adult social care, children’s services, etc.

It is not yet known which roles are at risk, but any restructure will be subject to union and staff consultation.

Mr West warned grant funded posts may have to be pulled if those external monies stop coming in as it will add pressure to the budget.

READ MORE: Slough Council eyes axing its community team to save funds

In November, Mr West said the community project team, which supports charity and voluntary organisation events as well as tackle youth violence and drug-dealing, could be axed to save £452,000.

At the meeting, the director said he had managed to reach his savings target without needing to cut the team, but it could still be at risk of going if SBC cannot find external funding via grants to continue to invest in it.

As the director needs to find about £8m-worth of savings, SBC are eyeing to cut street cleaning services by £400,000 and grounds maintenance by £450,000.

Cllr Wayne Strutton (Con: Haymill & Lynch Hill) said the draft place and community budget is based on too many “what ifs” and asked how confident Mr West is in achieving the savings.

The director responded, saying he can deliver these savings but needs “extra confidence” in the quality of accounts, which are yet to be signed off. If further findings are found, more savings may be needed.