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250,000 council jobs cut since general election


Almost a quarter of a million jobs have been lost in local authorities since the general election as a result of the government's spending cuts, according to a new study.

The GMB union said the number of people employed by councils in England and Wales had fallen from 2,254,000 in the first quarter of 2010 to just over two million in the same period this year.

The biggest losses have been in the South West, where local authority employment has fallen by 40,600, followed by the North West (34,300), East of England (30,300), West Midlands (25,000) and Yorkshire and the Humber (24,300), said the report.

The councils with the biggest cuts are Cornwall, Devon, Essex, Lancashire, Suffolk and Nottinghamshire, according to the research.

Employment in the public sector as a whole has fallen from 6.3 million to 5.9 million over the same period, said the GMB.

General secretary Paul Kenny said: "What lies behind these statistics is the cold hard fact that this Government has destroyed 236,900 local authority jobs in England and Wales since the general election in 2010. In the UK as a whole 424,000 jobs have been lost in the public sector in that period.

"These cuts have created unemployment, denied job opportunities to young people and cut services as the bankers continue to rip away with their bonuses and their fiddles

"The Government's role is to deliver an economy which grows employment and living standards. Perhaps someone should take a note around to Number 11 Downing Street to explain this to the Chancellor.

"The Government said it was making these cuts to bring down the deficit, but all the economic data confirms that the economy is going nowhere and that there has been no reduction in the deficit."

Local Government Minister Bob Neill said: "Local government accounts for a quarter of all public spending and all councils need to make sensible savings to keep council tax down, protect front-line services and help tackle the deficit inherited from the last administration.

"Councils could potentially make billions in savings by reviewing the subsidies and funding being provided to trade unions at taxpayers' expense, sharing back offices, getting more for less from their £60 billion a year procurement budget, utilising their £10 billion of reserves and tackling the £2 billion cost of town hall fraud."