Council jobs under threat rises to 70,000

The number of council jobs cut or threatened with the axe in recent weeks has now topped 70,000, with unions fearing the pace of redundancies will quicken in the New Year, according to a new report today.

The GMB union said over 70 local authorities in England, Wales and Scotland had now issued warnings of job losses as a result of the Government's Comprehensive Spending Review in October.

Union officials were now involved in the statutory 90-day consultations over job cuts in councils across the country, said the GMB.

The latest threats of job cuts were in Trafford, Preston, Wirral, Cheshire, Cambridgeshire and Gloucestershire, according to the union.

The GMB said councils across England were planning to hold meetings this week to assess spending in the coming year after receiving news from the Government about the level of grant support.

Paul Kenny, general secretary of the GMB, said: "Over 9,000 in 19 councils are under threat after announcements in recent days. This brings the total under threat to over 71,000 before the level of grant support for English councils is announced.

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