Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Councils Must 'Strike Balance' on Redunancies

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Councils Must 'Strike Balance' on Redunancies

Article excerpt

COMPULSORY redundancies in local councils are set to increase in the next few years as the spending squeeze from central government continues, a report warned today.

The 1.6m people who work for England's 353 councils are the country's largest workforce, but their numbers have fallen by 145,000 over the past year and further job losses are "inevitable", said the report by the Audit Commission and Local Government Association.

The report said that the local council workforce - not including teachers, firefighters or police - peaked at the equivalent of 1.063m full-time posts in 2007 but has since fallen to 932,800 by the middle of this year.

The overall council pay bill rose by 22% between 2004/05 and 2009/10, but has since fallen 5.6% in real terms to around pounds 30bn and is set to fall further.

The Work in Progress report called on councils to "strike a balance" between redundancies and restructuring as they reduce workforce costs. It cited cases of councils sharing backroom staff or removing entire layers of management to maintain numbers of frontline posts. …

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