Westminster Council services ‘will be hit hard’ as 55 more jobs axed

Taxpayers will pick up bill and staff face misery, say critics

Westminster Council is set to axe 55 more jobs as it seeks to make �60million of cuts over the next two years.

Up to 450 jobs were originally planned to be slashed over the next two years but the council has now confirmed the additional cull in the innovation, business and skills department.

Announcing the move, human resources director Graham White said: “As you know, the council continues to face a number of financial challenges. We have made some progress towards improving our circumstances but there is still more to do, particularly in the short term.

“Our plans to combine services with Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham Councils will not give us the savings we need to make this year, which is why we are continuing to review our team structures.”

The job losses are in addition to more than 500 roles which have been cut over the past 18 months.

Westminster’s Labour group leader Cllr Paul Dimoldenberg said: “These latest job cuts will bring more misery to hard-working staff and cost council taxpayers many millions of pounds in redundancy payments.

Most Read

“On top of this, frontline services will be hit hard with fewer people able to deal with residents’ concerns.”

But Westminster’s strategic finance boss Cllr Philippa Roe said: “We have been and continue to look at different ways of working and achieving more for less for our residents.

“These are tough times and we have had to make difficult choices which have inevitably included job losses.

“However, unlike many other local authorities, not a single children’s centre or leisure centre will close in Westminster, while initiatives such as joint working with our neighbouring boroughs should help us reduce management costs even further – delivering savings for local taxpayers.”

In its 2011/12 budget revealed this March, the council announced plans to make vast financial savings through job losses as well as saving �4million by selling off or leasing under-used premises, �4million from reducing back office functions and �1.2million from sharing finance services with other boroughs.