NEW spending plans have laid bare the scale of job losses at Durham County Council over the last decade.

In 2011, county bosses were predicting they would have to shed almost 2,000 workers by 2015 as part of efforts to slash millions from the books.

But ten years on, the number of lost staff is expected to be closer to 3,000, while spending cuts could be more than double what was originally forecast.

“It is staggering to think that the original ask, as we saw [the Government] implement the first round of austerity imposed on us, was a £123 million savings target for the council,” said Alan Napier, the deputy leader of the council.

“Successive budgets and spending rounds have failed to deliver the funding needs to meet the needs of our residents and communities.

“[By 2025,] we forecast cuts will be close to £290 million and we are currently forecasting that we will have lost around 3000 posts from this council, based on current savings plans.”

Cllr Napier was speaking at Wednesday's meeting of the county council’s ruling cabinet which was held by videolink and broadcast via YouTube.

By March, council cuts since 2011 are expected to be close to a quarter of a billion pounds.

By 2025 this is predicted to have risen to £286 million.

According to a report for councillors, of the roughly 3,000 jobs expected to have been lost by next year (2022), about 700 of these ‘will have been achieved through the removal of vacant posts’.

Spending plans for next year (2021/22) include a planned council tax rise worth almost three per cent, as well as £484 million on a range of schemes, including school and council house building projects.

County bosses have insisted finances remain ‘robust’ and that Durham is not among 12 English councils reported in bailout talks with the Government over the state of their account books.

Council leader Simon Henig said: “The fact Durham County Council is not in that position is testament to the efforts of all staff in the council.”