1,000 jobs to be axed by council

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File photo dated 26/2/2009 of  Council House, Victoria Square, Birmingham. The country's biggest local authority is to axe a further 1,000 jobs this year because of spending cuts. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday February 12, 2014. Birmingham City Council has already reduced its staffing by a third since 2010, and its leader has warned of the

The country's biggest local authority is to axe a further 1,000 jobs this year because of spending cuts.

Birmingham City Council has already reduced its staffing by a third since 2010, and its leader has warned of the "end of local government as we know it".

Sir Albert Bore said last year that the council faced "enormous financial challenges", but prospects had become even worse because of government cuts to funding up to 2018.

"The average cut in spending power (as defined by the Government) for 2014/15 across England will be £71.44 per dwelling. In Birmingham it will be £145.33.

"But the indicative figures for the next year (2015-16) are even more unfair. Birmingham is due to receive a cut of £147.42 per dwelling, whilst the national average will be just £45.32," he said.

Sir Albert said the Labour-controlled authority faced having to make annual savings of £822 million up to 2018 because of a combination of grant cuts and increased spending pressures in areas such as social care.

The council has previously announced cuts totalling hundreds of millions of pounds and next year it will have to find an extra £200 million of savings.

"We rely on central government for most of our income - only about a tenth comes from council tax - so these cuts have a huge impact.

"Our flexibility is reduced even further because much of the money we receive is earmarked for specific services like schools, and we have little say on how it is spent. At the same time, there are increased pressures for spending on statutory services like social care, which we cannot avoid paying for."

Sir Albert complained that some authorities in the south and east of England will see their Government funding increased.

"It is inevitable that next year we will have to make hard decisions about which optional services to stop providing altogether, and we may even find it difficult to maintain statutory services to the standard expected. The cuts from 2015 onwards will create a financial crisis in many councils across the country.

"The scale of the cuts means we need to completely rethink the role and structure of the city council and how we achieve the outcomes we seek - what I have called 'the end of local government as we know it'.

We cannot simply carry on doing things as we have always done them or delivering the services we have become used to for decades."

Gillian Whittaker of the GMB union said: "This is a further blow to Birmingham City Council workers. The services across Birmingham are already stretched and our members are already over-worked.

"To find more cuts across Birmingham and local services is very upsetting as our members are already uncertain about their jobs. We will expect a Labour council to look at alternatives and to mitigate the worst aspects of these cuts."

Lynne Shakespeare, regional officer of the Unite union, said: "Not surprisingly, Birmingham is in the top 10 of councils to suffer the biggest cuts, while some rich Tory shires are actually seeing budget rises.
Whatever happened to 'we're all in this together'?

"The Government is letting the people of Birmingham down in the most appalling way, as it squeezes ever more money from the council's coffers. The services people rely on to look after their children and care for elderly relatives will be slashed.

"Such a devastating blow to the people of Birmingham should send shockwaves through Westminster. Cuts on this scale are simply not sustainable."

Top 10 council deficits

Top 10 council deficits