Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

2,000 jobs under threat at council

Manchester City Council said it will have to axe almost a fifth of its workforce

One of the country's biggest local authorities has warned of 2,000 redundancies, sparking threats of industrial action and taking the council jobs cull caused by the Government's spending cuts to almost 114,000.

Manchester City Council revealed it was having £110 million slashed off its budget of £500 million to £600 million this year, with tens of millions more next year, saying it will have to axe almost a fifth of its workforce.

Sir Richard Leese, leader of the Labour-controlled authority, complained about the "unfairness" of the Government's financial grant settlement for Manchester, while unions reacted with fury.

The GMB said a total of 113,765 jobs were now under threat at 145 councils across Britain, with almost all of the authorities involved in a 90-day statutory consultation period with unions and staff on how to deal with the cuts.

Unite regional officer Keith Hutson said: "Our members are outraged. This is the clear result of the coalition's austerity measures and cutbacks to local government funding announced before Christmas. It will have a devastating effect on services and the people that use them."

Sir Richard said: "We now have to find £110 million in savings next year - £60 million more than expected - because of front-loading and the re-distribution of money from Manchester to more affluent areas.

"The accelerated cuts mean we can no longer achieve the staffing reductions we have been forced into through natural turnover, which is why we are proposing a time-limited offer of voluntary severance and voluntary early retirement."

Unison leader Dave Prentis, said: "The shockwaves of 2,000 job losses will spread across the city of Manchester and beyond. It is a tragic loss to workers who will have to break the news to their families that they are losing their jobs. It is also a bitter blow to communities who will lose services they rely on and will hit local businesses and trade."

Local Government Minister Grant Shapps said: "We have been quite clear that if councils cut chief executive pay, join back office services, join forces to procure and cut out the crazy non-jobs, they can protect frontline services.

"Yet Manchester has a chief executive on a pay packet of nearly £100,000 more than the Prime Minister, who won't lead from the front and take a pay cut, and a Twitter tsar on nearly £40,000."

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