MORE than 700 staff will go by April in a jobs cull at Somerset County Council – with a further 800 to go over the ensuing three years.

There will be a mix of voluntary and compulsory redundancies and ‘natural wastage.

Of the 700 going in the next six months, at least 200 will be voluntary, with 50 frozen posts not filled.

And those lucky enough to keep their jobs are likely to see pay cuts and less generous employment terms.

Council leader Cllr Ken Maddock said: “We’ve reduced bureaucracy and red tape wherever we can and protected our lowest paid staff as much as possible.

“But let’s be clear, these proposals aren’t the end of the process, but just the first round.

“There will be further and deeper cuts announced over the coming weeks and months.”

County Hall chief executive Sheila Wheeler said the cuts would be difficult for everyone living in Somerset and those working for the authority.

She said the jobs would be lost “across the piece.