Guide to where the axe will fall: Ngaio Crequer and Lydia Slater asked a sample of 73 local authorities about their finances and found they expected to face a total of more than pounds 850m in cuts with the loss of 15,000 public sector jobs (CORRECTED)

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Avon (NOC)

Cuts of pounds 39m, 600 jobs to go: hoping they can be lost through voluntary redundancies. 'We were worried that we might have to find pounds 50m in cuts, so in fact we've done rather better than we'd feared,' Nadia Nuaimi, press officer, said.

Bedfordshire (NOC)

pounds 10m cuts. 'The county council has already committed an amount of money for next year to meet new legislation required by central government. We have no choice over this requirement . . . This amount is in itself more than the small increase we have been allowed in our spending,' councillors Philip Hendry (C) and John Tizard (Lab) said.

Berkshire (NOC)

Facing cuts of pounds 10m, David Bowles, treasurer, said. 'The situation has reached farcical proportions. During periods of recession, more children stay on in sixth forms, rising unemployment means the cost of providing free school meals increases and there are more pressures on social services . . .'

Buckinghamshire (C)

A no-growth budget would mean saving pounds 7m, cuts of 1 per cent would save pounds 10m - no decisions made yet. 'It's unthinkable that we should allow ourselves to be capped. We're doing our bit to keep council tax bills down,' Peter Heaton, press officer, said.

Cambridgeshire (C)

Last year's SSA was pounds 402m, this year it is pounds 380.6m. It will mean 330 job losses by April.

Cheshire (NOC)

Cuts of pounds 20m. 'This settlement can only be seen as a heavy blow,' David Newton, finance chairman, said.

Cleveland (Lab)

Cuts of pounds 14m, 400-600 jobs to go, including about 300 teachers, 4 per cent cuts in council services, particularly in police and fire service. Libraries will close. 'What we find particularly objectionable is that authorities in the South receive more than ourselves for employing groups such as teachers, policemen and firefighters - yet they are employed on national rates of pay.

'We had already made cuts of 2 per cent across the board, and to be asked to do it again is too much,' Bruce Stevenson, chief executive, said.

Cornwall (NOC)

pounds 8m cuts just to stand still. 'Our first reaction is one of grave disappointment that our SSA is so far below our estimate of minimum service needs,' Jim Philp, chair of the finance committee, said.

Cumbria (NOC)

pounds 8m cuts. Jobs will go, not sure how many yet. 'The impact on services is going to be pronounced,' Bob Mather, treasurer, said.

Derbyshire (Lab)

Cuts of pounds 38m. Up to 2,500 jobs to go. Must find pounds 6m to pay wage increases for staff - including police and firefighters - which have been agreed by the Government. 'This system of allocating government grant is now widely discredited . . . cuts on such a scale are bound to affect the most vulnerable people in the community,' a spokesman said.

Devon (C)

pounds 21m cuts. Up to 145 jobs to go, but the hope is that most will be voluntary. Recent announcement of 1,000 cleaning job losses from a staff of 2,600 is not linked to the budget but a result of compulsory competitive tendering, a spokesman said. 'Tory councillors are calling this a very tight budget.'

Dorset (C)

Paul Kent, deputy treasurer, said there would be pounds 10m cuts and job losses. pounds 1m off repairs and maintenance, pounds 500,000 off highways, pounds 2m off other departments. Will lose jobs, but it is hoped to do this through voluntary redundancy and early retirement.

Durham (Lab)

Cuts of at least pounds 19m. Will cut services to achieve 5 per cent reduction in budget. Aiming to avoid compulsory redundancies. 'You can't achieve a 5 per cent cut just by improving efficiency,' John Kirkby, treasurer, said.

East Sussex (C)

A standstill budget, and no deficit. 'We've done quite well' Martin Fitzgerald, press officer, said.

Essex (C)

'We're not anticipating too many problems staying within our limit,' a spokesman said. Has had pounds 8m more taken away as result of loss of further education than it actually spent on the colleges.

Gloucestershire (NOC)

Cuts of pounds 15m, mainly in education. School budget to be cut by 5 per cent, redundancies predicted. 'This isn't a reasonable assessment of what we have to spend. It is very harsh,' Bob Potter, head of financial services, said.

Hampshire (C)

No cuts envisaged. Council plans moderate growth and some voluntary staff reduction.

Hereford and Worcester (C)

A pounds 10m deficit will mean cuts in all services, but virtually no redundancies. 'Our 2.7 per cent increase is less than other councils have received. The Government's arithmetic is flawed,' Alec Mackie, press officer, said.

Hertfordshire (C)

pounds 17m cuts. Iris Tarry, leader, said: 'Undoubtedly this is a difficult settlement, but it is premature to talk of job losses and cuts.'

Humberside (Lab)

Cuts of pounds 28m. Recruitment freeze on council jobs and call for voluntary redundancies. 'This is a very sad day' Mitch Upfold, deputy leader, said.

Isle of Wight (Lib Dem)

Cuts of pounds 3m. 'That sort of money in a budget of our size means redundancies. We feel it's an unfair assessment,' Paul Wilkinson, assistant treasurer, said. Lost pounds 6m when the one further education college passed out of council control; it had only cost pounds 4.5m to run.

Lancashire (Lab)

Cuts of pounds 67m will be required to stay within the capping criteria. This will 'devastate' the services provided by the council, and could mean the loss of 2,000 jobs. 'Once again, the people of Lancashire have been cheated by this Tory government,' John West, the chair of the finance committee, said.

Leicestershire (NOC)

Needs to make cuts of pounds 17m. More than 200 non-teaching jobs to go in education.

Lincolnshire (C)

An increase in spending of 2.5 per cent. 'This settlement is tough but we will manage,' Bill Wyrill, leader, said.

Norfolk (C)

No indication of likely budget. 'We think it's a rotten settlement. We feel pretty hard done by,' Bernard Farrant, press officer, said. Last year spent pounds 27.6m on further education, but the Government has removed pounds 3.8m more.

Northamptonshire (C/Ind)

A standstill budget. 'We feel disadvantaged. We are a growing county and that's not being recog nised in our allocation,' Richard Paver, finance director, said.

Northumberland (Lab)

pounds 13m cuts, 180 teachers and 420 other jobs to go. Severe cutbacks in advisory, educational welfare, special needs services. Elderly people's homes to shut and highways will not be repaired. Ian Swithenbank, a councillor, said: 'Once again we have got one of the worst settlements in the country. There is a lot of anger . . . we have been treated abysmally.'

North Yorkshire (NOC)

pounds 8m short. pounds 1m cut on buildings maintenance, cutback on highway maintenance. Will be reviewing provision for the elderly. Banking on only 0.75 per cent pay awards this year. 'We believe it's a very tough settlement,' David Martin, treasurer, said.

Nottinghamshire (Lab)

Redundancies, including 110 teachers to go by March 1994. Government support has been reduced by pounds 50m as a result of the loss of further education, when the real figure should be pounds 40m.

Oxfordshire (NOC)

A pounds 20m deficit can be reduced to pounds 9m using reserves. Services will be cut. 'All the political parties agree that the needs of Oxford are not reflected in the assessment,' Carolyn Sampson, press officer, said.

Shropshire (NOC)

Cuts of pounds 14m, including pounds 6m off education. 'We knew this year we were going to be for it,' a spokesman said.

Somerset (C)

pounds 11.5m cuts. No reduction in services, but budget assumes inflation steady at 2 per cent and interest rates at 6 per cent. But the council's scheme depends for success on Nalgo members and teachers accepting a pay freeze - impossible to enforce as a government pay rise to teachers cannot be prevented. Leaders have written to the Prime Minister asking for no pay rise for teachers. Staffordshire (Lab)

pounds 17m cut. Concern about having to fund known increases, like pay awards. William Austin, leader, said: 'It's totally inadequate . . . the county council is faced with real reductions.'

Suffolk (C)

No deficit - 2 per cent growth. No redundancies. 'It's a tough but manageable budget,' Manda Marsden, press officer, said.

Surrey (C)

pounds 27.5m cuts. 'We're right down at the bottom of the spending league, thanks to Mr Howard,' Tim Edwards, a press officer, said. 'We think we'll be able to avoid butchering services'. There could be 150 redundancies including 50 teachers. This year there will be an extra 3,000 pupils which the DoE had not estimated, as a result of the recession - parents withdrawing children from fee-paying schools.

Warwickshire (C)

Ann Reilly, press officer, said there would be pounds 5m cuts, posts would be lost. The first Conservative council to be capped. Has appealed in previous years and always been awarded more. 'The SSA figure is meaningless. There's no way we're going to keep within that budget. Why should similar shire councils get more than us?' Ms Reilly said. Will try to protect frontline services. May be cuts in highway maintenance, posts may be frozen, but no redundancies.

West Sussex (C)

No cuts expected. Council spending below current assessment. 'We are one of the more prudent authorities' Samantha Hodder, press officer, said.

Wiltshire (C/Ind)

Education will lose pounds 2m from its budget. 'This is the cost of bringing Britain out of recession,' Peter Chalke, council leader, said.


Barking and Dagenham (Lab)

Shortfall of pounds 8m and 120 jobs to go, although neither social services nor education will be affected. 'The SSA is just not on. We have a reputation for being a careful authority and our poll tax is one of the lowest. There's no fat left to cut,' Simon Caplan, public relations officer, said. There will be 30 compulsory redundancies over all departments, and 90 voluntary redundancies or early retirements.

Bexley (C)

A shortfall of pounds 2.1m or 1.5 per cent of budget. Few, if any, redundancies. Chris Duffield, director of finance, said: 'I wouldn't call it unfair. It's tough.'

Brent (NOC)

A pounds 5m shortfall. Frontline services will not be affected, Gary Clarke, a spokesman, said.

Camden (Lab)

Cuts of pounds 30m to be made. 1,100 jobs already lost, mainly in social services staff. There may be reductions in home helps, closure of elderly people's homes. Schools budget has been protected.

Greenwich (Lab)

Has to make cuts of pounds 32m. About 750 jobs will have to be shed, 230 in social services. Cuts in school budgets likely. 'The Government doesn't count the unemployed in the spending assessment, and Greenwich has the highest level of unemployment in London,' Julian Scola, press officer, said.

Hackney (Lab)

Facing cuts of pounds 10m across the board. 'We don't think it's fair,' a spokeswoman said.

Hammersmith and Fulham (Lab)

A pounds 19m shortfall, met through reserves and cuts across the board. 'We have a standstill budget and a deficit will be met from reserves and cuts,' Louise Raisey, press officer, said.

Harrow (C)

200 jobs are to go, and cuts of 10 per cent will be made in services.

Hillingdon (C)

Cuts of over pounds 15.2m will mean job losses if the council is to stay within budget, Roy Mills, press officer, said.

Hounslow (Lab)

184 posts to go as a result of pounds 13m cuts. The intention is that they will be redeployed across the council as there are 300 vacancies.

Islington (Lab)

Faces cuts of pounds 21.4m, 300 job losses and reductions in services across the board. 'We've been saying for years that the system is unfair and fails to take account of inner-city problems,' David Lloyd, press officer, said.

Kensington and Chelsea (C)

35 posts lost to stay within budget. 'Obviously a higher figure would have been welcome', Zita Clark, press officer, said. People will be redeployed, and the hope is that there will be no compulsory redundancies.

Lambeth (Lab)

Cuts of pounds 29m. 'We have written to the Department of Employment warning them that we could be shedding 1,000 jobs,' a press officer said.

Lewisham (Lab)

Cuts of pounds 13m- pounds 20m, and job losses. 'Since capping was introduced we've lost about a third of our budget which is a hell of a lot,' Sue Rhodes, press officer, said. 'We don't think our spending assessment takes into account the level of hardship in the borough.' Demand for housing benefit has risen by a third as a result of the recession.

Merton (Lab)

Cuts of pounds 8m. Tony Colman, leader, said: 'It is a pity the local Tory councillors cannot put party political differences aside and work with us to get the best deal for Merton residents. Merton taxpayers are subsidising Wandsworth taxpayers.' Tory-controlled Wandsworth is next door. Merton gets pounds 700 per property less in SSA than Wandsworth. Council says if it got the same it would have pounds 46m more to spend.

Tower Hamlets (Lib Dem)

Cuts of pounds 10m. 'It's crystal ball gazing,' Tony O'Regan, head of public relations, said.


Birmingham (Lab)

Shortfall of pounds 35m- pounds 40m. Up to 3,000 jobs could go. There will be cuts in services of 10-15 per cent. The leader, Sir Richard Knowles, said Birmingham was in a 'horrendous financial position'.

Bradford (Lab)

Cuts of pounds 8.5m. 'My worst fears have come true . . . once again it is a direct attack by the Government on some of our lowest paid staff,' the ex-leader, Tommy Flanagan, said.

Calderdale (NOC)

Is facing cuts of pounds 2.7m. 'It's not a reasonable assessment of what Calderdale has to spend. We feel very strongly about it. We could do with another pounds 4m on the highways,' Ken Radcliffe, deputy director of finance, said.

Dudley (Lab)

pounds 17.5m cuts will be made, mainly in education and social services. 'Things are very bad,' Tom Slater, assistant information officer, said. Labour group is proposing pounds 7.5m cuts in education and pounds 2m in social services. Vivian Astling, chief executive, said: 'The next few weeks will be very difficult and distressing for those in the parts of the services at risk.'

Gateshead (Lab)

Up to pounds 13m could be cut and jobs will be lost. 'We are outraged that services are going to have to be cut at a time when there is more need for them than ever,' Rachel Chapman, a spokeswoman, said.

Rochdale (C/Lib Dem)

Cuts of pounds 6m will affect 200-250 posts. 'We don't think the Government is in a position to assess Rochdale's needs properly,' Martin Hellewell, press officer, said.

Sheffield (Lab)

pounds 37m shortfall will mean 1,120 job losses. An additional redundancy scheme is looking for 905 volunteers by the end of this month Steve Howell, public relations officer, said.

Trafford (C)

Colin Warbrick, leader, said: 'We would have liked more, but in comparison with other councils, I suppose ours is fair. We wanted 1 per cent more than we got.' No compulsory redundancies are planned.

Wolverhampton (C/Lib Dem)

'Like all councils we are facing difficult times,' a spokeswoman said. Cuts of pounds 7m will have to be made to reach the cap limit but 'a number' of voluntary redundancies have been accepted.


Amber Valley (Lab)

pounds 250,000 cuts. 'Like many others, we are more than concerned at yet another cutback. It gets harder every year. We could easily spend another million on our services,' John Charleson, treasurer, said.

Brentwood (Lib Dem dominant)

pounds 5m cuts in budget planned. Hopes to deliver these without compulsory redundancies. pounds 1.7m off services, pounds 1m off staff. 'We're pruning every budget back to the bone. There has been for many years a feeling that the SSA is far too small, and is calculated unfairly,' Roger Olding, finance director, said.

Derwentside (Lab)

Cuts of pounds 0.6m. 'This is on top of a 10 per cent cut last year. There will be cuts in services and jobs,' Keith Robinson, chief finance officer, said.

East Devon (C)

Neville Staddon, treasurer, said SSA and cap limits were pounds 9.766m. Budget will be within that. 'Cuts? What cuts?'

Harlow (Lab)

Shortfall of at least pounds 14m. Half of council services to go, 800 jobs cut out of a total of 1,600. SSA this year pounds 7.7m, cap limit pounds 10.4m. In November 1989 unemployment level was one of lowest in country at 3.5 per cent. Now one of highest at 10.8 per cent. 'There isn't enough money for us to fulfil our statutory obligations, let alone anything discretionary,' Mag Barrett, press officer, said. Possible targets: women's refuge centre, welfare rights and advice service, emergency cover for the old, parks and playing fields. 'The feeling in the council is one of shock and horror. The whole fabric of the town which has been developed over 37 years is disintegrating.'

Ipswich (Lab)

Hopes to bring in budget below the cap level. Will look to cut concessionary fares, grants to voluntary organisations. Aim is to achieve this with no job losses.

Oxford (Lab)

No deficit. 'We haven't done all that badly. We may not have to make cuts,' Jill Bailey, press officer, said.

Rushcliffe (C)

No cuts.

Woking (C)

Ray Morgan, director of central services, said: 'It's disastrous. We knew something bad was coming, but we didn't think it would be this bad.' No cuts yet in core services, but staff pay freeze, otherwise recommended rise of 1.5 per cent would mean the loss of 10 jobs. No increases allowed for inflation. Grants to voluntary organisations reduced by pounds 50,000, housing associations by pounds 100,000, cutback on roadworks. 'Capping has removed the ability of elected councillors to pay for services that local residents want and have voted for.'

York (Lab dominant)

Still a quarter of last year's pay awards to provide. The reduction in interest rates lost the council pounds 1m in investment income. 'There will inevitably be job cuts,' Geoff Wragg, treasurer, said.

KEY: C: Conservative; Lab: Labour; Lib Dem: Liberal Democrats; NOC: No Overall Control


The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has asked us to point out that in our guide to cuts in council spending yesterday, although it said that a higher level of central government grant would have been welcome, services could be maintained with the money allocated. Some posts may be lost but employees will be offered redeployment.

(Photographs omitted)