AROUND 220 jobs will be axed at Middlesbrough Council next year, mayor Ray Mallon announced tonight as he outlined plans to save £14m.

Taxpayers were also told that their council tax bills for 2015/16 could be increased by about two per cent, as he rejected the Government’s so-called freeze grant which offers additional funding if authorities hold bills at current levels.

He also predicted that by 2020, three-quarters of Middlesbrough’s budget will be spent caring for children in care and pensioners with Alzheimer’s.

Among the 51 saving proposals for next year are:

Cuts of £2.15m to administrative support resulting in about 50 job losses.

Reconfiguring IT support to save £1m over the next two years, with the loss of a further 30 posts.

Management of sports and leisure centres transferred to an external trust to save £430,000 with the loss of about 25 positions.

Mr Mallon, who is serving his final term in office, also plans to merge libraries, community regeneration and the council’s 0-19 service into one Early Help team. This would save the council £812,000 and lead to 33 job cuts.

Mr Mallon said that since Chancellor George Osborne launched his comprehensive spending review in October 2010, Middlesbrough Council had already made savings of £60.5m, but predicted that it could be forced to reduce its budget by a further £77m by 2019/20.

And on top of the 728 jobs already lost he envisaged more than 600 more would disappear over the next six years – representing a 50 per cent reduction to its 2,500-strong workforce.

“Due to the financial cuts being imposed on this council, at present and over the coming years, together with the obvious rise in demand of children and adult services, it is likely that by 2020 approximately 73 per cent of the budget will be spent on these particular services,” he said.

“As you are aware, adult social health care, due to an aging population and the rise in older people suffering from dementia, will be a particular challenge.

“That is the main reason why we must raise our council tax base by building more houses and thereby attracting more population, so that we receive higher council tax revenues and greater formula grant from central Government.”

Speaking in the council chamber at Middlesbrough Town Hall, Mr Mallon said the 51 proposals would now go out to consultation for six weeks until December 3, with any changes announced at a special meeting on December 10 when the suggestion of increasing council tax will also be debated.