Union warns of 'devastating' impact of spending cuts

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The Independent Online

Fresh fears over council job losses were raised today because local authorities were having to make huge savings under the Government's public spending cuts.

The GMB said there could be 1,000 jobs lost at Sandwell council in the West Midlands as the authority had to make £64.6 million of savings over the next three years, which the union warned would have a "devastating impact" on services.

Mohammed Khalik, the GMB's regional organiser, said: "Sandwell council have told GMB that there will be a reduction in staffing of between 600 and 700 over the next three years. Looking at the financial figures I think the job losses will be a lot higher. I fear that over 1,000 jobs will be lost.

"Cuts of this magnitude will be devastating for services, jobs and the economy in Sandwell. The impact on the vulnerable and how this impacts at a human level has not been factored in by the Tory Liberal authors of these cuts. GMB will be seeking contact with community groups and users to look to mitigate the worst aspects of these cuts."

The GMB yesterday warned of thousands of job losses at Derbyshire County Council, Leeds City Council and Stoke on Trent City Council because of Government spending cuts.

The union said the latest cuts were on top of thousands of threatened job losses at local authorities across the country as they deal with reductions in their budgets.

The union said it had been told Derbyshire County Council was planning up to 2,000 redundancies over the next four years, Leeds City Council was aiming to cut up to 3,000 jobs and between 2,500 and 3,000 posts were under threat at Stoke on Trent.