600 council jobs could face axe


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The Independent Online

Up to 600 more jobs could be lost at a council as the authority battles to make a further £55 million in savings.

Leeds City Council has already lost hundreds of posts due to reductions in Government grants and increased demand for its services.

The £55 million savings are in addition to the £90 million of cuts the council had to make in 2011/12, the council said.

The authority said rising adult social care costs, increased numbers of looked-after children, landfill tax bills, fuel and energy prices and inflation are the major budget pressures.

So far job losses at the council have been on a voluntary basis - but compulsory redundancies in the latest round of cuts have not been ruled out. It is understood the council is looking at between 500 and 600 jobs being lost.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council, said: "The scale of the challenge we face is massive. Government funding is being slashed at the same time that demand for services is rapidly increasing.

"We had nearly 30,000 referrals to children's services last year, we have an ageing population and a population with rising expectations of the care they will receive when they need it.

"We are continuing to prioritise funding for our elderly and our young people, but we also need to ensure we are securing investment and developing partnerships that will deliver jobs and homes. Help is simply not going to come from the Government so it is vital we take action here in Leeds to make those ambitions a reality.

"The only way we will really find innovative ways to make the most of rapidly reducing funding is by changing the way we ourselves do business.

"That is why this budget places much more emphasis on working with our partners in the voluntary and private sectors, as well as encouraging closer working between different council departments."

While the £55 million savings are needed to balance the books for the year 2012/13, the council anticipates the need to save a further £43 million the following year, 2013/14.