Headlines: March 2nd, 2010

A survey predicting widespread job cuts in local authorities has sparked a political row with unions claiming Conservative-run councils are already reducing some services in spite of an increase in their central government funding. The survey carried out by the BBC found that 49 councils which responded to questions about jobs estimated losses of 25,000 over the next three to five years out of a combined workforce of 256,000.

The Local Government Association said councils were facing ‘a perfect storm’ because of the recession and that sources of income had dropped at the same time that more people were turning to councils for help. Difficult choices had to be made and across the country many councils felt they had to take the decision to cut jobs.

Unions claimed come authorities were already reducing refuse collections and selling off care homes for the elderly in spite of getting more money from Government. Dave Prentis, the general secretary of UNISON accused councils of acting politically in cutting budgets and declaring that tens of thousands of jobs would be cut over the next few years.

The GMB said services were already being trimmed but that new warnings over spending and job cuts would devastate services to communities. National Officer Brian Strutton said: “Conservative-run local government has already started cutting services like closing community centres and homeless hostels, selling off care homes for the elderly and cutting bin collections. They simply do not care about providing services to the less well off and more vulnerable members of society.”