SWINDON council has delivered a blow to its staff by announcing that up to 1,000 of them could potentially lose their jobs.

Council bosses made a series of presentations to staff at the Wyvern theatre yesterday outlining the depressing financial state of affairs that faces them.

The council has to save £11m in this financial year and expects to have to save a further £15m a year in future.

Chief executive Gavin Jones outlined the bleak picture to staff before finance director Stuart McKellar presented a more detailed financial report.

Council leader Rod Bluh and his deputy Garry Perkins then explained their ‘One Swindon’ vision to them, to encourage the council to work more closely with local people and local businesses to get things done.

But each of them were remaining tight-lipped on where the axe could fall until they find out how much they will receive in Government grants in the Autumn.

One worker, who wanted to remain anonymous, said she was not impressed with the performance.

“They said that it wasn’t about the financial difficulties, it was about the progression of Swindon in the future and it just happens to be that the financial pinch is coming as well,” she said.

She added: “I just think they are going to do what they are told to do by Government.

“I don’t think anyone came out of there believing what they were saying.

“The mood in some parts of the council is awful.”

Coun Bluh told the Adver that the main purpose of the meeting was to update staff on the budget process and what it was likely to mean for them.

He said: “There was a high level of interest and acceptance that things are going to be difficult and we have got to do what we can to work through it.”

Leader of the Labour group on the council, Derique Montaut, said he welcomed the briefings as the economic uncertainty had caused ‘deep concern’ about job security at the council.

But he added: “Having sat through the presentations by the leader of the council and the chief executive and hearing about the idea of One Swindon and delivering services in a new way, I have yet to be convinced that this can be achieved when major risks are likely to be taken with council tax payers’ money.

“This point was emphasised by one member of staff who raised concerns about council tax payers’ money being gambled in the private sector when it could have been used to save council services.

“However I do hope that this One Swindon model will be successful."

A spokesman for Swindon council said there had been five briefings held with staff during the day during which there were presentations from the chief executive and leader followed by a question and answer session.

There are 2,679 full time equivalent jobs at Swindon Borough Council excluding school staff and Swindon Commercial Services.