A council has offered voluntary redundancy to its entire workforce following budgetary pressures from the Covid crisis.
Eastbourne Council has told its entire workforce that they can apply for redundancy in the authority’s latest bid to maintain frontline services during the pandemic.
The authority, in East Sussex, has said the pandemic had already cost it nearly £9 million. But the government, it added, has only offered the council £1.3 million to help plug the gap.
Eastbourne council confirmed their latest move this week after already making cuts within the tourism, theatres and conference departments.
All council staff had now been issued with ‘expressions of interest for voluntary redundancy’.
An Eastbourne Council spokesperson said: “Most regrettably, there are 38 contracted staff and 23 regular casual staff whose roles may be placed at risk of redundancy.
“While the consultation is still running and will now continue to the end of August, we hope to create 10 new posts in the new structure and anticipate some of these being filled by existing staff.”
They added: “This week we also invited expressions of interest from any staff who may be interested in voluntary redundancy.”
The council berated the central government for meeting its commitments to supporting the authority which the pandemic has left reeling.
The spokesperson said: “The financial challenges all councils face are exacerbated by central government not fulfilling its commitment to meet the increase in costs and loss of income.
“Our latest forecasts show the increased council expenditure and loss of income as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic, amounts to £8.7 million. To date, we have received £1.3 million from government.”
Council bosses are also looking to relocate to a cheaper headquarters.
The spokesperson said: “With capacity in the Town Hall and other council owned buildings, we are planning to relocate colleagues to different venues over the coming months…in tandem with our continued and extensive use of agile working and the flexible working patterns that have proved so effective during lockdown.”
They added: “The council’s foremost priorities are to deliver a balanced budget and maintain the day-to-day frontline services that residents rely on.
“Achieving these demands at this time will involve making a number of difficult and painful decisions, but we must do what is necessary to make sure all services continue to be financially viable.”