'Capping has cost councils 28,000 jobs'

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Indy Politics
MORE THAN 28,000 council jobs will be lost as a result of this year's budget round, Jack Straw, Labour's environment spokesman, said yesterday.

Only a small number of councils have still to set their budgets, which they are legally obliged to do by the end of this week. Mr Straw said that an independent report by the Centre for Local Economic Strategies now had details of job losses in nearly 200 local authorities in England and Wales.

Mr Straw said the figure of 28,801 job losses forced upon councils because of capping limits was close to original forecasts of 33,000, made by the Local Government Chronicle, which ministers had originally dismissed as 'scaremongering'.

Ministers still publicly insist that a harsher capping regime will not lead to greater job losses or reduced services. But even Conservative councils are being forced to make tough decisions. More than 3,500 job losses have occurred in 22 Conservative-controlled councils, according to Mr Straw. Today local government leaders will address their concerns to John Major at a special summit.