A TOTAL of 130 council workers could lose their jobs as the financial crisis engulfing County Hall deepens.

Ironically the threat of multiple redundancies comes after Somerset County Council chief executive Patrick Flaherty admitted the authority was "a bit thin on the ground" over the summer.

In a letter to all employees, Mr Flaherty said a raft of cost cutting measures is under consideration and will be debated by the cabinet on Wednesday, September 12, as the council tries to cut spending by £14 million. He stressed that no decisions have yet been finalised.

He wrote: "With the financial pressures we face, the proposals being considered would mean reductions in services, changes to staffing structures and, regrettably, a reduction in the size of this organisation and the loss of more than 100 posts.

"As the potential loss of posts exceeds 100 posts, we are today starting formal consultation with the trades unions.

"This will cover posts including closure of vacant posts and voluntary redundancies, as well as service and team restructures that may result in redundancies.

"The total number of posts being consulted on is 130. The consultation document will be made available to all staff early next week, once managers have had an opportunity to speak with affected teams. Team changes will also be covered by their own consultations."

Mr Flaherty described making the imminent cutbacks as "a tough process", adding that managers will be speaking to their teams

He added: "I would ask everyone to be particularly sensitive in the coming weeks to the teams and individuals who may be experiencing uncertainty as a result of the savings this council has to make.

"I would also like to remind everyone that support is available, through your managers, Care First and through trades unions representatives.

"There are also several Unison meetings taking place this week across the county.

"The coming weeks will be difficult for a lot of people and this council as a whole.

"I thank you again for your hard work and ask you not to lose sight of the all the great work that this council does and will continue to do for the residents of Somerset."

Other areas under consideration as part of the brutal cutbacks are:

  • alteration of arrangements for specialist housing and support for adults with social care needs;
  • reducing the support given to the Citizens Advice Bureaux;
  • reducing or altering early help services for children and their families and for vulnerable pupils;
  • changing the councillors' allowances system;
  • changes to highways maintenance, rights of way and associated infrastructure;
  • changes to financial support for public transport and special educational needs transport and to service levels for road safety;
  • scrapping the two park and ride sites in Taunton;
  • reducing corporate and directorate overheads;
  • alterations to customer access arrangements;
  • securing additional funding or recovering costs within children and family services.