150,000 council jobs under threat


GMB leader Paul Kenny has accused the Government of deliberately creating unemployment on an unprecedented scale

The number of jobs axed or threatened by local authorities because of Government spending cuts has topped 150,000, a new study has revealed.

The GMB union said 260 councils in England, Wales and Scotland were gearing up to cut posts in the coming months after having their funding slashed.

Most of the authorities have issued a 90-day consultation and have given notice that they plan to axe vacant posts and seek volunteers for early retirement and redundancy, said the GMB.

Some of the jobs have already been cut and many councils are meeting in the next few weeks to finalise redundancy plans, according to the GMB.

General secretary Paul Kenny said: “Coupled with announcements of big job losses in the private sector these 150,059 jobs under threat at 260 councils is really bad news. The figure for jobs under threat in the public sector keeps going up. The Government cannot blame the snow for this bad news.

“The Government is deliberately creating unemployment on a scale that we have not seen before. The Government spending plans not only threaten these 150,059 council posts and job losses in the rest of the public sector but there are additional job losses in the voluntary sector funded by public sector grants and in the outsourced private sector.

“Frontline services for the most vulnerable people in our society are being affected by cuts of this scale. The impact for those who depend on these services will be devastating. Some services like meals on wheels in some authorities are now only available to those at death’s door.

“In the current circumstances it is hard to see the private sector creating enough new jobs to make up for these job losses.”

The GMB said jobs under threat across the regions were: North East, 9,214; North West, 29,125; Yorkshire & The Humber, 18,243; East Midlands, 11,609; West Midlands, 20,937; Eastern, 9,829; London, 14,590; South East, 13,413; South West, 11,408; Wales, 1,858; and Scotland, 9,833.

More than 50 councils, fire and police authorities have warned of job losses in the past week in areas including Surrey, Wigan, West Sussex, Wiltshire, Scottish Borders, Suffolk and South Wales, said the GMB.

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