Council job cuts hit 66,000

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The Independent Online

The number of job losses announced or threatened by councils in Britain because of the Government's spending cuts has reached 66,000, research revealed today.

The GMB union said 64 local authorities have plans to axe posts in the wake of the Government's austerity measures.

The latest cuts will hit Suffolk, Aberdeen, Plymouth, Merthyr Tydfil, Cleveland, Derbyshire and Barnet, said the union, which has been tracking the series of job loss announcements since the Comprehensive Spending Review in October.

GMB national officer Brian Strutton said: "Every day brings new announcements of job losses. The latest batch is for 4,421 jobs under threat at 10 councils to bring the total so far to over 66,000.

"Council workers up and down the country are being asked to pay the price for the bankers' recession and for the bank bailouts that cost taxpayers £850 billion.

"The Government has sought to cut services and jobs rather than target the tax dodgers who avoid £50 billion in taxes each year.

"Council workers are not to blame, so why is the Government targeting lollipop staff, school dinner staff, cleaners, social workers and home care assistants? It is totally unfair.

"GMB officers are meeting with members to seek their views on what they want the union to do in this unprecedented situation."

Local Government Minister Grant Shapps said: "It is very sad that Labour and their union barons have resorted to trying to scaremonger public sector workers on a daily basis.

"Regularly the unions are confusing job cuts with a reduction in posts in local government, which can be delivered through natural wastage, mutualisation and early retirement.

"They also pretend that reviews of terms and conditions through Section 188 notices are the same as issuing P45s. Yet scaling back perks actually saves taxpayers' money which can protect jobs.

"We have been quite clear that if councils cut out excessive chief executive salaries, share back office services, join forces to procure and wipe out non jobs, they can protect frontline services."