PLANS to cut 2,500 jobs from Lancashire County Council’s workforce will be put to senior councillors next week.

Authority leader Jenny Mein hopes to persuade staff to quit voluntarily or take early retirement but warned compulsory redundancies remained the last resort.

Current cash terms for staff agreeing to leave will remain until March but then steadily reduce to encourage an early take-up.

The cut back is the biggest in the history of the county council which provides services to residents of 12 boroughs in Lancashire — including Pendle, Hyndburn, Burnley, Ribble Valley, Rossendale and Chorley.

Meanwhile, the all-purpose Blackburn with Darwen council is half way through a programme of cutting 500 of its 2,800 workforce announced a year ago.

On Friday, the county council’s ruling cabinet will approve a voluntary redundancy scheme to cut 2,500 of its non-school workforce of around 13,000 by April 2016 to save £300million in the next four years. The total county staff, including teachers and other education staff, is 34,500.

Coun Mein said: “The council simply cannot make these savings without significant reductions in the number of people it employs.

“I am determined to lead the council through this period in a way that makes the changes as fair as possible.

“That includes giving the people who work here a clear understanding of where we're going and doing everything we can to avoid compulsory redundancies.

“My hope is that enough people will choose to go on a voluntary basis.”

Councillors will be asked to agree to set the terms for voluntary redundancy at reduced levels for future years, so the council can afford sufficient numbers to leave on a voluntary basis.

County Tory group leader Geoff Driver said: “The books have to be balanced but the county Labour leadership has set its face against using One Connect to make savings without affecting services.”

In December, 106 Blackburn with Darwen council staff had opted for early retirement and voluntary redundancies and 36 were made compulsorily redundant. Some 56 people had been redeployed with another 93 at imminent risk of redundancy.