Fifty more council jobs could be lost following big cuts

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AROUND 50 careers advisor jobs are ‘in limbo’ following East Sussex County Council’s decision to axe Connexions.

The service provides support, information and advice for young people, but is due to be axed at the end of the academic year.

The cut comes as part of the £20m worth of savings the Children’s Services department needs to make from this year’s budget.

A spokesperson previously said the council is having to make tough decisions but explained axing Connexions would equate to more than 15 per cent of the budget.

A parent raised concerns about the cut and now UNISON, the union representing some of the 50-odd people facing redundancy, has said staff feel as if they are in limbo as the council’s contractor for the service, Babcock Enterprise, claims the service must be provided by law.

Steve Burns, UNISON steward, condemned the cuts being forced on local authorities. He said, “The cuts specifically target young people most in need of public service support.

“It is clear Cameron’s pre-election pledge that front-line services will not be harmed is at the very least an economy with the truth.

“Recent significant cuts to the ‘area based grant’ to local authorities, which fund Connexions and careers services will inevitably lead to worse services, centre closures and fewer staff.

“The county council has cancelled the contact to provide careers guidance in the county’s schools and put around 50 Connexions employees’ jobs at risk. What is now happening is an act of gross vandalism as well as a breach of statutory regulations.”

A council spokesperson said, “We are in discussion with our sub-contractors who employ the staff and they have their own employment policies.

“We understand these are uncertain times for many but will always seek to fulfil our statutory obligations. In the meantime we continue to provide advice services for young people until the end of the academic year.

“After that we will only have funding to support young people with learning difficulties and provide one-to-one personal adviser support for the most vulnerable.

“We will be unable to fund universal advice and guidance to young people. In fact it will no longer be our responsibility to do so.

“We hope schools will continue to provide young people with this kind of support. We are, however, awaiting further details from government about advisory services.”