Staffordshire Connexions Face Battle To Maintain Services Following A Further £1.5 Million Cut To Budget

In a shock announcement, Staffordshire Connexions are being asked to find a further £1.5 million savings in their budget by March 2011.  This is in addition to the £560,000 savings over a 7 month period, which has already been announced in the Stoke on Trent Division of the Company.  The £1.5 million savings is a result of reductions in the Local Authority Area based grant received by Staffordshire County Council, which has been passed onto Staffordshire Connexions. 

Jane Heath, Branch Secretary for Staffordshire Branch of UNISON, said, “Our members are still reeling from the shock of this latest budget cut and the assertion that such high levels of savings can be obtained through cutting back on bureaucracy and other efficiency savings.”
 
“Staffordshire Connexions have already seen redundancies over the last 18 months as part of ongoing efficiency savings.  At its peak Staffordshire Connexions employed 387 people; we are now down to 310 staff.  We believe that costs have already been cut to the bone and a high level of saving will result in major impact to services and the loss of valuable front-line posts.”
 
“Nationally the Coalition Government is saying that they do not want to dismantle the Connexions service, yet at the same time they have already cut £467 million funding as part of the £1.165 billion cuts to Local Government.”
 
“Our Young people continue to be Society’s investment for the future.  It is difficult to see how the continued targeting of services for our young people, such as Connexions, is contributing to this investment.”
 
“A consultation meeting on what the cuts will mean to staff is planned for early next week.  Members are expecting that redundancies will be from the Adult Division, Foregate House and from both the Staffordshire and Stoke areas of connexions.  No details are currently available but anxiety with staff is running high that this could be up to 100 redundancies.”
 
“Staffordshire Branch of UNISON Officers and workplace representatives will work hard to minimise the loss of jobs, to try to ensure that Connexions can continue to support the young people of Staffordshire.”