Council condemned over cuts plan


Birmingham City Council leader Mike Whitby has announced plans to axe 7,000 jobs

A city council has been accused of “social and economic vandalism” after revealing plans to cut thousands of jobs in a bid to save more than £300 million.

Unveiling Birmingham City Council’s business plan for the next financial year, leader Mike Whitby said the authority would “play its role” in helping to tackle the national deficit, and planned to make the savings over the next three to four years.

He said a total of 4,300 posts at the council would be cut and 3,000 more would be transferred into a schools co-operative, amid funding cuts from central Government.

Cllr Whitby said the target of 4,300 had almost been met, as 1,807 council employees have already taken voluntary redundancy and a further 1,500 have opted to do so in the coming financial year.

The authority – the largest in the UK – has made 302 compulsory redundancies and is consulting over the remainder of the posts which must be cut.

The introduction of schools co-operatives means that council workers in supportive roles in Birmingham schools, including catering, cleaning and caretaking staff, will no longer be employed by the city council. They will instead be paid directly by schools. Further savings are to come from plans to privatise adult social care, increase parking fees and remodel youth services.

Cllr Whitby said: “Although, inevitably, there will be a focus on reduced spend across the public sector, it is important to remember that more than £3.5 billion is still to be spent on quality public services.”

Roger McKenzie, assistant general secretary of the Unison union, said the coalition Government had “pulled the rug from beneath Birmingham society”.

He said: “These cuts are too fast and too deep. They have been planning these cuts for 15 months and are pursuing them with relish. The decision to front-load these cuts with £212 million cut in the first year alone is particularly spiteful.”

He added: “This Conservative-led Government talks of the Big Society but they have pulled the rug from underneath Birmingham society.”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.