Hundreds of council jobs could be lost in the next three years in a bid to cut costs.

It follows an efficiency report by Pricewaterhousecoopers which showed that axing 5 per cent of the workforce could save Richmond Council as much as £10m to £15m.

Between 200 to 300 workers could get the chop under the plans.

Council leader Serge Lourie confirmed a consultation with PWC had highlighted areas where cuts could be made.

He said no "frontline staff" would be affected but would not be drawn on which departments would face cuts.

The plan will be discussed at a co-ordination, finance and performance commission meeting next Wednesday and will go before the cabinet on February 22.

News of the cuts comes as the council prepares to announce its tax for the year ahead in a briefing tomorrow morning.

Councillor Lourie said: "The council continues to have the lowest cost per head of any council in the country but we realise that in the current economic recession we will have to reduce expenditure by up to 15 per cent.

"We will be considering a report at cabinet about the way forward as we believe the council can become more efficient.

"At this stage we estimate that over the next three years it may be necessary to reduce the number of people employed by the council by up to 200 to 300 people overall."

Coun Lourie also said that staff had been involved in the consultation process and that the main aim would be to increase efficiency by reducing the duplication of services.

He added: "At this stage we have no concrete plans but are setting up processes of reviewing the way in which the council does it's business with a view to being more efficient."

Deputy Conservative leader Geoffrey Samuel said that the report showed limited details and was unclear on where the cuts would be made.

He said: "Yes, the consultants can find around £10m to £13m of cuts - but these are merely outline suggestions with no indication of any kind where the axe will fall.

"Hundreds of jobs will be lost - but there is no indication of where or when."

Currently, the council has more than 2,000 staff.

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