Fears of yet more job losses as councils tighten belts again

Wigan Town Hall
Wigan Town Hall

ALMOST 12,000 job losses have already been announced by local authorities to meet budget cuts for next year, a new study has shown.

Local authorities including those in Glasgow, Dudley, East Sussex, Merthyr Tydfil, Worcestershire and Carlisle are planning to axe jobs, according to research by the GMB union.

Wigan Council has already cut hundreds of posts in the last seven years and has been unable to rule out further redundancies as belts are tightened further.

The union monitored budgets being fixed for 2016/17 by 29 councils and found 17 had already identified job losses. It warns that local authorities were having to decide which services to cut, or how many jobs will be lost, because of budget reductions.

National officer Justin Bowden said: “These 11,766 job losses are just the tip of the iceberg of the cuts yet to be revealed as councils fix budgets for 2016/17. They are in advance of the announcement that four government departments - Treasury, transport, local government and environment - have agreed to cut their spending by an average of another 30 per cent over the next four years.

“Spending in some parts of the public sector like local councils will be half that in 2010. These same councils have to cope with increased pressures from the care sector and other upward cost pressures.

“The further 30 per cent cut will mean amputations as councils and other public services are forced to decide which services they stop providing altogether. With the cuts to come people will have more chance of winning the lottery than seeing police patrolling their streets.”

A Communities and Local Government Department spokesman said: “Councils have worked hard over the past five years to deliver a better deal for local taxpayers, keeping council tax down while public satisfaction with services has been maintained. Councils have over £22bn sitting in council reserves and like the rest of the public sector, they have to play their part in tackling the deficit.”

No decision has been made on local government funding for next year.”