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MP vows to help save council jobs

ONLY a handful of council workers have opted to take up the offer of unpaid leave - a move cash-strapped Hyndburn Council had hoped would make huge savings.

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ONLY a handful of council workers have opted to take up the offer of unpaid leave - a move cash-strapped Hyndburn Council had hoped would make huge savings.

David Welsby, council managing director revealed this week that out of about 550 full time staff, only 23 have accepted the offer. He said this equates to a saving of £5,300. But Hyndburn MP Greg Pope remains hopeful jobs can be saved - despite the council being forced to make cost cuts in a bid make up a £1.8M deficit.

Speaking about the council's chaotic financial situation, he said it was paramount that services are saved and jobs protected during the council's extensive last-minute salvage package.

Council chiefs are currently considering a raft of proposals to stop Government auditors moving in to run the borough, and savings have apparently been identified worth £1M. But that still leaves a gap of £800,000 to bridge before the budget is set in April.

He said: "The situation is far too big to play party politics with. We need to pull together to help the council through this. I am happy to do whatever they like and all our means are focused on protecting people's jobs. It may be that the Government taking over the council is the option but I will work with both parties for the good of the borough. The important thing is that we secure public services and jobs."

Steve Watson, Unison branch secretary said: "Unison is working closely with elected members and management to solve the current financial issues without reductions to working conditions. A resolution will only be found with the help and support of all staff at Hyndburn Borough Council."