DUDLEY Council is to shed 800 jobs as the full impact of savage public spending cuts becomes clear.

Council bosses insist they must cut £35m in three years with the lion’s share of the reductions - £22m and 400 jobs - to go from the 2011/12 budget.

Council chiefs say redundancies are inevitable although they are trying to soften the blow by making savings through efficiency and modernisation.

Councillor Anne Millward, leader of Dudley Council, said: “We have accepted previously that difficult decisions would have to be made but I can reassure everybody that we have made every effort to reduce any impact on services and jobs.

“I would stress that compulsory redundancies will be a last resort as we will look to reduce numbers where necessary through a mixture of freezing vacant posts, redeployment into alternative jobs, job sharing, retirements and voluntary redundancies.”

Although the budget will not be approved by full council until March, a report for the authority’s cabinet, which was due to meet last night (Wednesday), reveals the process for compulsory redundancies will begin this month.

A survey by the council asking residents where the axe should fall shows the political minefield facing councillors making unpopular decisions.

From 547 responses to 1,000 paper questionnaires and 1,078 website visits, only one area, arts and entertainment, got a vote in favour of reduced spending.

Out of 26 categories, people felt most should stay the same while respondents said helping create new jobs and business, care and support for older people and crime prevention and public safety, should get more cash.

Care and support for older people will be the highest spending area in the next financial year where the council is expecting to shell out £37.5m from a total budget of £241m.

The Adult, Community and Housing directorate will take the biggest hit with more than £10m shaved off its 2011/12 budget.

Cuts are in the pipeline despite the directorate being under significant pressures from both elderly people being discharged from hospital in need of social care and increasing costs helping people with learning difficulties and mental health issues.

Cllr David Blood, Dudley cabinet member for finance, said: “The savings outlined in the cabinet report identify proposed changes to a number of service areas.

“More specific details about these savings will appear in select committee reports before the final budget setting at full council on March 7.”

The ruling Conservative group on Dudley Council has already pledged to freeze Council Tax next year.