CHESHIRE East Council has announced plans to cut 1,000 jobs – roughly one fifth of its 5,500 strong workforce.

CEC say job losses over the next three years are necessary because of a reduction in Government grants.

The authority claims the move would give tax payers ‘better value for money’ by cutting its £140 million wage bill.

They add a ‘bold but careful’ approach to job cuts would ‘give priority to protecting essential frontline jobs’, and the focus of the cuts was ‘on reducing waste, duplication and bureaucracy, as well as cutting management overheads.’ Public services union, Unison, said services would be affected.

CEC Leader, clr Michael Jones, said the authority would do ‘all we can to support our staff through these changes.’ “This will include finding suitable alternative work, where necessary, and investing in retraining them to keep their skills up to date,” he added.

Clr Jones said he was ‘proud of the quality and creative thinking of our staff,’ adding they ‘do a fantastic job in difficult circumstances.’ A spokesman for CEC said the council hope to mitigate against compulsory redundancies by ‘taking advantage of natural turnover, as people leave or retire.’ Planned changes would involve transferring staff to social enterprises, staff mutuals and arms-length companies owned by the Council, as well as outsourcing some services to the voluntary sector and private sector.

“We expect that in three years’ time, about 1,000 staff will be employed in these local businesses, and will be contributing to the growing strength of the Cheshire East economy,” said the spokesman.

The job cuts follow last week’s announcement that CEC management positions were being ‘deleted’ in the wake of the Lyme Green fiasco, and that senior members of staff would have to reapply for their jobs.