Blackpool Council to shed 300 jobs in budget cuts

Blackpool Council has announced that it is to cut 300 jobs in a bid to save £40m over the next two years.

Blackpool CouncilThe council said the job losses would be from across the board as it aims to make overall savings of £25.2m in 2015/16 and £19.7m in 2016/17.

It will address how it delivers services for adults, housing and planning, but front-line social workers and school-crossing patrols would be protected.

Budgets for its tourism arm, VisitBlackpool, and the annual illuminations, are likely to be reduced.

The announcement comes on the back of a mixed year for Blackpool, which lost its airport in 2014, but also registered record visitor numbers.

Coun Simon Blackburn, leader of Blackpool Council, said: "There is no easy way of cutting £25m from our budget. This year has been the toughest yet. Hours and hours have been spent pouring over the accounts, analysing every pound that is spent.

“Unfortunately there appears no light at the end of the tunnel - services will continue to be cut and jobs lost. This will not go unnoticed by the residents of Blackpool, the businesses that operate here and the visitors who come to stay.

“Every effort needs to be made to work with the public, partners, voluntary sector and the private sector to minimise the impact of the cuts on the people who need and depend upon our services. Seeking external funding and maximising income opportunities will also be vital.

“It is an unsettling time for many people including staff, but the commitment to delivering the best possible services to Blackpool residents remains undiminished." He added: “It is gut-wrenching to know that hundreds of staff have come to work today and will go home with an uncertain future through no fault of their own. I cannot imagine how they feel but they have my every sympathy, it must be a terribly upsetting time."