1. ITV Report

Council forces staff to take unpaid Christmas leave in 'last resort' savings plan

Cambridgeshire County Council is trying to make savings of millions of pounds. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Staff at Cambridgeshire County Council will be forced to take three days of unpaid leave over Christmas in a bid to cut costs.

The authority, which has been trying to find almost 15 million pounds of savings in this year's budget, says the move is a "last resort".

They say it will save almost a million pounds - the equivalent of cutting 40 jobs. Critics say it's a Christmas pay-cut and have called it hugely unfair.

"The council has only introduced this measure as a last resort - and to support its hard working staff the unpaid leave costs will be deducted in twelve equal amounts from staff salaries starting from November – a total amount roughly equating to 1.2% of their annual pay."

– Cambridgeshire County Council

The council says it has found £8m of savings this year - but "time is running out" to find the additional £5.2m needed.

The council previously negotiated with trade unions a clause in all employees’ contracts to impose a period of up to three days unpaid leave if the financial situation made it necessary.

Therefore – except for some essential services - Cambridgeshire County Council will close on 27, 28 and 31 December, and all but the lowest paid staff (those earning under £25k per year) will take these days as unpaid leave.