Council cuts survey triggers blame game

Birmingham city council's savings could lead to 2,000 job cuts
Birmingham city council's savings could lead to 2,000 job cuts

By staff

Around ten per cent of council jobs in England could be under threat in the next five years.

A BBC survey of 49 local authorities found around 25,000 jobs could be cut from the combined workforce of 256,000.

Spending cuts of between five per cent and 20% were anticipated by over two-thirds of the councils questioned.

Shadow local government secretary Caroline Spelman laid the blame solely at the government's door for the looming cuts.

"Councils across the political spectrum are suffering from falls in income due to the cold winds of Labour's recession, compounded by fiddled funding from Whitehall which has caused council tax to double since 1997," she said.

"Unlike Gordon Brown who has mortgaged Britain to the hilt, local authorities have to balance their books."

Communities secretary John Denham said that councils which are cutting jobs this year were not doing it because of a shortage of government funding or the economy.

"They're doing it because of a local choice," he said.

"In the medium-term finances are going to be tighter, but councils should be able to protect and improve frontline services - the things that matter to the public - if they make the necessary efficiency savings behind the scenes."


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