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Are you worried about council budget cuts?

06:05 UK time, Monday, 1 March 2010

At least 25,000 council jobs in England could be lost in the next few years. Are you concerned?

More than two-thirds of councils which responded to a BBC survey on local spending predict they will have to make cuts of between 5% and 20%.

Services such as libraries, care homes, the arts and leisure are most at risk.

Are you concerned about spending cuts in your neighbourhood? Do you work for a local authority? Which services are most important to you?


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  • Comment number 1.

    No, the thing I am worried about is that councils will put up their rates to the home owners and businesses with no improvement of services. Seems to me that between Labour and the councils we are taxed more and more for less and less.

  • Comment number 2.

    I'm not worried about council job cuts at all. In fact I hope for some, especially all the laison officers which have sprung up over the years. Let councils empty the bins, keep the roads in good order and such like. If people need childcare, care for the elderly, translation services etc etc, there are plenty of central gov't bodies which provide these services OR shock-horror! They could always pay for their own needs themselves instead of always expecting other to pick up the tab for them. The public sector is bloated and desperately needs to lose some weight. The fact that it provides 1 in 3 jobs in some parts of the country is frankly appalling!

  • Comment number 3.

    I am very concerned about council cutbacks and do not believe these are appropriate at a time when services are more in demand than ever. This will affect the most vulnerable in society such as the elderly and the homeless. We should be spending more on social services not less, and council tax rises could be used to fund it. For some reason 'tax rise' has become a dirty word in British politics, but when it comes to a choice between more tax or less spending then it should be obvious to all which a civilised society should opt for.

  • Comment number 4.

    I have a funny feeling very few job will be lost for those on wages above £50,000.

  • Comment number 5.

    Like SnoddersB #1 I am concerned that local councils, as well as central government, will still expect to receive tax money while giving even less value for it than they do now.

    However I wonder why one local council recently sought to fill 3 middle-management posts in one department (the one which looks after children in care), each of which was listed with a salary equivalent to that of an FE college principal? Perhaps a look at their pay structures might be in order... if these middle-managers are to receive so much, what do the 3-4 layers above them get paid?

  • Comment number 6.

    This last happened with Thatcher. All services suffered the consequences of cutbacks leading to privatisation and job losses. It is still a moot point as to what it achieved, accompanied as it was by changes in the way relief and finances were appropriated by Westminster.

    We have seen vast swathes of cash given to bankers because of their profligate dealings and yet, in areas where it is ordinary people who bear the brunt, there is nothing but cuts, in services and in jobs.

    It proves to all that Westminster doesn't care about the vast majority of people in this country. "I'm alright Jack" takes on a completely opposite meaning.

  • Comment number 7.

    Hello people.

    I do not wish to be considered unkind, but other than for the jobs within, what is the purpose of local councils?
    Does anyone know why it takes quite so many people, and their pension pots, to say to the dustbin-lorry-driver to go and empty the bins?

  • Comment number 8.

    If there are going to be any job losses, I hope it will be all the non-jobs which go first - long before the "real" ones!

  • Comment number 9.

    It all depends what jobs go doesnt it

    everyone knows that councils employ loads of anti smoking/obesity, diversity , street football , recycling coordinators all of whom can be got rid of with no impact on services

    indeed some whose job it is to spy on peoples bins need to be fired and their axing would be positively welcome

    in addition when the tax payers alliance put in a freedom of information request for council employees with salaries over 50K the councils refused as this could prompt attacks "from the less stable members of the community" which is as good as admitting that if people knew how their money was spent theyd get violent

    unfortunately councils now think that we exist to serve them and we are an inconvenience when we want something back for it. I have this feeling that the councils will probably get rid of bin men , teachers and people who actually do something for council tax payers and certainly all those 50K plus jobs will stay in place

  • Comment number 10.

    I work for a fairly lean council and yes, worried about my future. What people don't realise is that the funding mechanism for councils is not equal and has reflected the local political map. The current wave of local redundancies will be because the government has paid bankers to stay in their jobs - what local services do investment bankers provide? It's your taxes when all is said and done.
    Another fact people don't hear from London is there are as many people employed in the civil service and quangos as there are in their local council. Now, what do they do that adds direct value to your life? Quangos would be my first cut if I had any influence (other than my vote in May).

  • Comment number 11.

    No, the councils need to face the same commercial reality that the private sector have been going through.

    Councils can no longer have this nonsensical approach where the retirement age for many employees is lower than in the private sector and the pensions are higher. 37% of the pension funds in this country will be paid to 17% of the employees (those in the public sector). Cut the services back to where they were before Brown went on his spending spree and as with the private sector, end the final salary pension schemes, we cannot have 20% of many council budgets being used to cover pensions.

    And for once, can the council tax go down - by 20%?

  • Comment number 12.

    Not before time that there are Council Budget cuts. First get rid of the thousands of highly paid non jobs, then can bring their pension schemes into line with private industry. Stop giving multi thousand £ payouts to Chief Executives who have only been in the job a few months, who then walk into similar jobs with another council. The waste of our money is criminal.

  • Comment number 13.

    In Q2 1997 there were about 5.2m public sector employees. In Q3 2009 there were about 6.1m. Both according to the ONS.

    That's an increase of 900,000. Last year, about 500,000 private sector employees lost their jobs.

    25,000 "at risk" - don't make me laugh!

  • Comment number 14.

    I think it will have to happen but as long as they cut it in the right places.
    How about the bosses taking a pay freeze
    Then cutting non-essential staff
    Then cut the sick pay and time-off that certain staff take on full pay
    How about all these documents and leaflets that are produce in various lauguages
    Start with these things and I am sure they will save a few million

  • Comment number 15.

    If the Communities Secretary John Denham thinks that this crisis can be averted by efficiency savings then he's deluding himself. Council's have already been forced into creative accounting via the Gershon "efficiency" savings, where authorities were ordered by the Government to make 3% savings without any decline in service.

  • Comment number 16.

    Local Councils are bloated inefficent beaurocracies with "jobs for the boys" at the expense of the tax payer. They are massively overstaffed. Anyone who has "suffered" local authority services would welcome getting efficiency as a priority.

  • Comment number 17.

    I am not worried about job cuts from my local council because I beleive that there are already too many people doing 'not a lot' and being paid by hard working tax payers, working in the private sector for less money and more hours. However, we have been told that our council tax will be decreasing this year, so our local Conservative council are obviously doing a good job. What would be good is efficiency saving by the government in general, rather then just local councils, but I don't believe they know the meaning of the word.

  • Comment number 18.

    Cut the highest payed job first that can be cut, that would reduce the effects and numbers. Also these people should be more able to get reemployed. One slight moan why refer to reduced street lighting as bad. It has been proved that crime and accidents are reduced by over 25% in reduced street lighting areas.
    Please BBC if your going to use threats use ones that are threats.Do'nt turn a plus into a minus.

  • Comment number 19.

    more worried about the fact that the pensions that have been built up for these staff will have to be paid for somehow - my rates going up again are they ?

  • Comment number 20.

    Unfortunately the cuts will affect front line services, the millions wasted on "consultants" will continue as those ordering the cuts look forward to doing the "consultant" rounds themselves one day. Also the number of self serving professional bodies with their associated costs should be reigned in.

    What is needed is an end to outsourcing (i.e. privatisation)of services, housing and staff training, an end to performance indicators, which costs more money in wasted time and unecessary jobs than it saves and less management.

  • Comment number 21.

    No, no, it;s about time that Councils cut back and more so stopped ripping off good people. Tax Taxes have been rising at alarming rates and services have greatly decreased, heck! I know of a family that either work direct or indirectly for the local council and they spend more time at home than in work, not to mention the staff that abuse such positions, by using work time for domestic shopping and playing on the Internet. We simply do not get value for money with local services and I'm convinced that a massive clean sweep would be long overdue.

  • Comment number 22.

    At the authority I work at all the back office services are being privatized due to poor management.
    These people are now leaving before the local elections.

    So now you will have worse services but run with a private sector mentality that profit not local people come first.

    I agree with other comments that all posts should be avaluated on the basis 'do they actual provide a service to the community'.

  • Comment number 23.

    As gordy has stated several times "he is a caring person his interest is in British jobs for British people" if anyone can believe any thing this non elected moron has to say, well all you are welcome to him and his thieving mp pals oh yes he did not save us from them either or the world from financial crisis which he made through his inept bungling.
    Lets have a vote on leaving EU and getting back to trading with honest people who like us i.e. Australia, New Zealand , India etc not people who make laws only we keep too, no more European immigration, Come On Cameron keep your promise

  • Comment number 24.

    This is one of the richest nations in the world. The difference between the wealthy and the poor has never been greater. Why should there be any cuts at all?

    The wealth the majority creates should be taken back from the few and used for the benefit of the many.

  • Comment number 25.

    I've worked in both the private & public sectors and suffered redundancy in the private sector in the 1980s Thatcher induced recession.

    Like many in the private sector, before I worked in the public sector, my ignorance of what the public sector actually does flavoured my views. However having worked extremely hard in the public sector to provide many services for the public, my view has changed based on reality.

    The public sector may have been bloated and a slackers charter to a certain extent many years ago but not these days, the public sector has become much more efficient over recent years due to waves of efficiency drives.

    Thing is, many moan about their taxes and what do they get for them, to that I say, you don't know what you've got until it's gone. My experience is that the public are the first to start moaning & complaining when even the most marginal of public services are withdrawn due to efficiency savings - "I'm writing to my MP, Councilor" etc

    So to all you people baying for the blood of the public sector I say, OK you get what you pay for, you will probably be the first people to start complaining when your bin collections go to once a month, when your Libraries discontinue free internet access to all, when services to the elderly force you to actually have to support your own family.

    Be careful what kind of society you wish for, it may not work out quite the way you expect it to, of course if you're really wealthy you've nothing to worry about.

  • Comment number 26.

    I really suspect we should all be very very worried about the prospect of cuts in Public Sector budgets! Why, because the bloated public sector has effectively 'out-sourced' many of their activities to the private sector! If you think things are bad now, just wait till the cuts start impacting on the private sector economy! My guess, is that for every job the council cuts, many more in the private sector will be effected. Will councils cut 'out-sourced' jobs first? Or will they go for the internal 'non jobs'? 2010 could very well result in a serious deepening of this 'All New Great Depression' - 25,000 jobs will be nothing near the total impact - x10 at least!

  • Comment number 27.

    Not worried at all. Such cuts are essential and shouldn't be hard to achieve. in private businesses we do it daily. How come councils don't have such a plan. I think the public services needs an injection of private entrepreneurs to sho them how its done as clearly they have no idea. Cut all the PC stuff, translation services, diversity officers. We know where it all is.

  • Comment number 28.

    My wife works for a local council and in discussion she says she would be happy to see some people go, especially those in executive positions created for the sake of PC and Diversity, costing a fortune and achieving nothing whilst front line services are curbed to afford these non-jobs. Her department staff has been halved in the last ten years whilst HR and other pen pushers have trebled. Getting rid of hangers on and unproductive wasters is her wish.

  • Comment number 29.

    This has to be looked at in light of the recession and with an open mind. Tax revenues are down because companies and individuals have had reduced income. High levels of government debt has to be paid for. Higher benefit payments are being paid as more people fall into need.
    The private sector has already made drastic cuts to survive and is in no position to have increased tax burdens imposed.
    Big cuts in public expenditure are inevitable as there will not be enough tax revenue being generated in the private sector to support it.
    So how can you cut costs without massive reductions in public services. Some job cuts are inevitable but flexibility could help with job sharing and wage reductions. Public sector pensions need to be reformed and brought into line with the private sector. It can’t be right that someone in private employment on £12000pa who has no money left to pay for their own pension has to subsidise a public sector manager’s pension who is earning in excess of £100,000. Public sector pensions makes up almost 20% of council tax costs and provides no benefits to the tax payers.
    Do we need all the councillors MP’s Lords MEP’s civil servants and public sector bodies that provide no essential services? This could be a very good time to clear the dead wood.

  • Comment number 30.

    The first area that should be cut are council pensions, along with all other public sector DB pension schemes. The massive cost savings could then be used to protect council jobs instead. Also, perhaps councils could look at what the private sector did; short hours, pay cuts etc rather than just slashing staff. Whilst I have some sympathy for the public sector, there are far, far too many people working in it. This country needs to be creating manufacturing jobs that raise money for the Government, jobs that are well paid and highly skilled. What we do not need are public sector jobs created just to lower the unemployment figures. The finance sector failed, the public sectir is too big and costly. Only a return to export led manufacturing can bail us out and any Government needs to create the right conditions for this to happen.

  • Comment number 31.

    Looks like we'll have to find a way to cope without street football coordinators.

  • Comment number 32.

    I have friends who work for the council and up til now, I was hoping to get a job there as it seems so cushy! Weeks of paid sick leave, more holiday days, longer time off at Christmas etc, paid non-work-related training, even anti-stress programmes and free yoga classes at lunchtimes! How is it fair that they get all that for free out of our taxes? Makes me absolutely sick!

  • Comment number 33.

    As an ex-council senior manager I agree that many highly paid non-jobs have been created in recent years. We used to have managers managing services. Now they write voluminous reports, meticulously researched, at Government instigation, they hold innumerable meetings in the name of partnership/liaison/co-ordination whilst services are cut because there is no money to implement their reports.

    Also, no-one is willing to address the public service pensions scandal. I am all for protecting existing staff, but new staff should come into much lower cost schemes. We pay a fortune in our council tax to subsidise pensions, particularly for senior staff on bloated salaries, that ought to protect junior jobs delivering services and provide employment for our young people.

  • Comment number 34.

    How typical! Cuts need to made and immediately the councils threaten with serious job loss claims. Instead they should be looking at the organisation and particularly the bloated over-paid upper management.
    For example can the borough of Merton explain me why I have to pay £1780py whereas neighbouring Wandsworth only charges £860py for similar property and provide similar services.

  • Comment number 35.

    No...not at all the Councils are totally overrun with inefficient staff who genuinely believe they are entitled to their job for life. The Councils have some of the most ridiculous job titles and unnecessary overstaffed departments I have ever heard of. Most of these flaky departments and jobs are there because of this interfering government. I know several members of council staff who left for higher paid positions in the private sector (one was in the planning department & the other in housing services) and both have now returned to public sector employment as they actually had to work "to hard". Says it all really doesn't it. Whats the unions response...they'll go on strike wonderful attitude as ever!

  • Comment number 36.

    Well said no. 25. "Dancing Pagan ". Exactly my thoughts. Can't click on rec. button though. The perpetual moaners about the public sector will really have something to moan about when we have dirty streets, no libraries, deteriorating parks etc. And what will happen to the elderly when council homes are cut? What will happen to the already huge housing waiting lists when our population is growing. More people living in cardboard boxes.

  • Comment number 37.

    It doesn't worry me at all. I think it is important that cuts are made so that we can preserve bankers bonuses at all costs. After all, it's the greedy Council workers who caused the current recession in the first place. Councils need to learn from the quality of service in the private sector - terminal five at Heathrow, the railways, RBS, Toyota, and so on.

  • Comment number 38.

    My experience of contact with the local council is that half of them have jobs with bizarre titles just to keep unemployment figures down.

  • Comment number 39.

    Noting Researcher 197029's comments - speaking as someone involved in housing for over 40 years, outsourcing housing has been one of the best measures ever. Investment in homes is better than it ever was under local authorities, even those that have kept their stock have been stirred out of their apathy. Social housing is now much better managed in most areas than it ever was in those days when it was when party politics was directly involved.

  • Comment number 40.

    As far as I'm concerned in my area , Kent County Council is increasing my council tax in order to improve services and support social services among other areas. It's hard to believe that services will be improved if jobs have to be cut. What the increase for then ?

    Perhaps if they reduce top earner salaries they might keep some jobs. But again, a bit like bankers, why would tax payers challenge what they do with our money or question who get paid over certain amounts? Let's hope next election will bring some change ..

  • Comment number 41.

    No. I'm certainly not worried about cuts - I'm paying for the inflated Council spending. Please cut the ridiculous salaries, the over-generous pensions and every job with diversity, gender, ethnicity or equality in its title.

  • Comment number 42.

    Yes. We need to keep Britain tidy. We require Social Services to help the needy in our society. But, I will be even more concerned if the Conservatives acquire any power, since it is quite probable that they will try to effectively privatise many of the services - and, of course, this will be much more expensive for us. Perhaps some of our City Fathers should reconsider rather silly ideas such as the re-introduction of TramCars - a highly expensive and disruptive madness. Our roads are in a terrible state with huge potentially dangerous potholes for both drivers and pedestrians crossing the road. So, yes I am worried. Councils should first of all consider which projects are absolutely necessary, and abandon others.Wwe must keep our population employed in order for our country to be revitalised.

  • Comment number 43.

    Councils have always been bloated, even more so now under Labour.

    Yes, some staff will lose their jobs. Unfortunately, I doubt very much whether it will be the unncessary jobs that will go, such as diversity and equality officers, community cohesion officers, and parking wardens.

  • Comment number 44.

    25,000 in the next five years is nowhere near enough.

    Councils all over the country are stuffed and bloated with people doing non-jobs that are completely pointless and unnecessary. The only reason they're there is so that Gordon has a captive audience of people who will vote Labour at the next election. Oh, and it also keeps them off the unemployment register.

    Get rid of them wholesale, and stop wasting taxpayers' money. The unions won't like it of course, well hard cheese. Desperate times need desperate measures.

  • Comment number 45.

    1. Get rid of all the high paid non-jobs-for-the-boys that have mysteriously appeared whilst this government has been in power. PC and Diversity directors especially.

    2. Increase efficiency and output to match that of the private sector. It is well known that productivity in the public sector is only about 60-70% of that in the private sector.

    3. Stop all automatic pay rises, with only performance related pay increments, and only then to those who perform above average. Reveiw all salaries over the national average wage versus the skills required to perform the job.

    4. Get rid of staff whose performance is consistently below average.

    Of course, the private sector has already been doing all these things for the past 13 years, so perhaps it is just a case of the chickens coming home to roost.

  • Comment number 46.

    Abolish the smoking liaison "officers", diversity "officers" and all the snoooping roles; that should get rid of a good percentage of jobs that contribute very little - indeed, some of these roles are counter productive in the eyes of mere mortals. Follow that by a substantial cut in senior excutive pay, bringing it more in line with the private sector in terms of the rate versus the job difficulty. Those actions should create considerable cost reductions. Finally, remove the gold plated final salary pension schemes. They are unaffordable, something the real world discovered a long time ago. Doing this could even facilitate a cut in council tax, or at least a return to the good service of the days when local government workers were motivated by serving their community.

  • Comment number 47.

    Again the public will have to endure the costs, financial and social, for the mistakes made by politicians, mistakes from which they blandly absolve themselves and demand that we continue to foot the bill as if it 't'were us that dun it, gov'. In recent years so much has been centralised by the State that voters are not quite sure who to blame for the terribly fractured public services with which we are provided, services which we all need to have working well if this country is to retain any semblance of a civilised place in which to live.
    Some in the private sector spend a great deal of time carping about the supposed gravy train enjoyed by those in public service, all the while steeped in the presumption that what they do is more important, when, in fact, much of their activity is vastly less efficient, effective or, dare I say it, necessary to the well-being of people.

    25,000 potential job losses in the public (or private sector) would be a disaster for those made redundant at this time and they should be prevented at all costs by diverting the budgets from ID cards, NHS IT programs, Trident, Crossrail et al, as well as cutting back totally on the vast resources dedicated by local councils in time, effort and money to supporting the greatly unwarranted and widely resented funding of political correctness and multiculturalism.

    Both local and national government need to start listening to what ordinary folk want them to do for us and not what they wish to see prevail, as if they former somehow know better than we do about such things, especially when it is always us who have to pay.

  • Comment number 48.

    Before they start cutting services, make them stop the nonsense of zero rating for the churches. Why should wealthy organizations like the Church of England, the Roman Catholic church and whatever the Jewish equivalent is, not pay rates like every other organization ?

  • Comment number 49.

    So, Council staff may have to suffer from some redundancies. Welcome to the real world that the rest of us live in!

  • Comment number 50.

    I worked for my local authority in the 1980's. The rule then was we didn't look out of the window in the morning as we would have nothing to do in the afternoon.

    The autority was run by the (mainly female)clerical staff. The officers (mainly male) just played at power politics.

    The authority had 650 staff positions of which 50 had been vacant for over 3 years. Departments had budgets determined by the number of personnel, so if someone left, their wages would be used as expenditure, no-one was recruited and the clerical staff did the extra work, whilst the officers maintained their high salary.

    A lot of the jobs that are going to go should be in the 'ghost' jobs that no-one needs, not in front line staff who deal with the public.

  • Comment number 51.

    Libraries & services to the Arts are what contributes to maintaining civilised boroughs, otherwise, we give way to gaming shops, discos, unsavoury pubs, accessory shops, etc., etc. The politicians talk about improving education: there can be no education without culture.

  • Comment number 52.

    A local council in cumbria is paying it's chief exec approx £600 per day these, are the people that they need to get rid of not the normal working people. Too many top bosses in this country get paid far too much and nobody is worth this amount of money.

  • Comment number 53.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 54.

    No. We must cut our coat according to our cloth, and if the financial situation means we must make do with less, that includes council services. However the government must do its bit by cutting back on the "nanny state" legislation that councils are expected to enforce.

    What I am concerned about is that councils aren't subject to market forces that have meant mandatory pay freezes or cuts for many in the private sector. Council employees will continue to enjoy their generous salaries and annual pay rises which will result in more job cuts than are necessary. Given the security of employment they enjoy I think council employees should take pay cuts to help reduce the number of job losses.

  • Comment number 55.

    the truth about the council cuts are the following,all of the councils went for the higher interest rates in ice save and the like ,and lost the money ,the government have been in talks with the Nordic banks but the banks are not giving the money back as yet,

    this has forced the councils to make all of the cuts they can ,
    if you .
    this kind of cash staved councils leads to crazy scheems like the government forcing people via the council to ban dogs on estates,
    as this makes life easier for the police when they do raids on a property,

    another government idea is to force people to have insurance for dogs ,
    as the insurance markets have collapsed ,and soon to follow is compulsory personal liability insurance unless you are disabled the council cuts are the least of your worries.

  • Comment number 56.

    "Services such as libraries, care homes, the arts and leisure are most at risk."

    How can this be? How can we allow this to happen? Local Authorities, like all Public Sector employers are chocked to the gills with countless and surplus, middle managers, administrators, performance managers and various other spurious positions, generally un-needed - created by Labour to fill the unemployment gap.

    These are the people that should be going first, not care homes, not leisure staff or other 'front line' positions.

    We should also be cutting back on localised Gender and Ethno-specific organisations and their funding. If the greater population are unable to use these resources, then it is only fair that in a time of tightened spending we close and restrict these resources. Living in less afluent times means that we are not at liberty to indulge the great Liberal/Socialist agenda as we have done and must cut this back to ensure that services, albiet reduced are provided for all.

    Lastly, like many other Public Sector organisations, expensive contractors, outsoursed recruitment has to be brought sharply under greater control. Councils should have a bank of available temporary staff, sourced by themselves and not through recruitment agencies that cost these organisations large sums through their mark up per temp/contractor supplied.

    Non essential funding of research projects, IT projects should be suspended until more afluent times.

    There is no need for the greater tax paying public to feel or notice any difference in the provision of services if local councils are taking the hit from within. It is only because we have been living in times of almost limitless spending that Local Authorities have enjoyed being able to employ an army of staff that are otherwise un-needed to provide the services that we tax payers pay for.

    Top Management should also be forced to accept a pay cut during these lean times. i am sure for the greater good of the communities they serve, they will have no objection in doing so.

  • Comment number 57.

    Familier story with the managers noblely putting forward their low paid front line staff for cuts.
    How about: all managers on £50k plus put on a four day week; ban early retirement; move all council staff pensions to an average salary calculation basis; subject councillors expenses claims to the same scrutiny that MP's have been under.
    This would save significant costs, and have no impact on services, but unfortunately turkey's don't vote for christmas.

  • Comment number 58.

    I spent 6 years before retiring, as a senior officer working for a Labour run council.
    The department I took over actually allowed some staff to work 1 hour and then rest for 1 hour.
    Having spent my life working in the private sector, I found this quite amazing.
    Yet, to a greater or lesser degree, it typifies the attitude found right across local government. Staff pretty much 'do as they please'.

    I would make a conservative estimate that if you employed the same work rate that governs the real world, you could get rid of half of the people employed, cut council funding by half, and have no detrimental effect on services whatsoever.

    But of course, we live in Britain, so nothing will improve.

  • Comment number 59.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 60.

    "Low interest rates mean councils are much less able to rely on their savings" – Foolish investments made with Icelandic Banks has meant councils are much less able to rely on their savings! Why have councils got savings anyway? Council Tax is to provide services to the public not employment for overmanned councils.

  • Comment number 61.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 62.

    I have a funny feeling very few job will be lost for those on wages above £50,000
    Undoubtedly correct as the average wage in Local Government is £22,000!
    Having said that there is no excuse for any public sector employees (including the hundreds at the BBC) to be paid more than the Prime Minister.

    The "going rate" argument is specious. It is hardly likely that there will be a huge outflow of senior local government staff to the private sector, if they could earn more elsewhere undoubtedly they would have already done so, indeed in the senior ranks of the public sector the going rate is what government decides to pay.

  • Comment number 63.

    before voicing concerns, look at the background to this:
    labour control few if any county councils, they have lost hundreds of local councils, they are a minority party at local government level.

    now consider why a central labour government is cutting funding for councils:

    - which parties will be seen to be cutting in the eyes of the electorate? of course, any parties running a council, most of which are not labour!
    - increases in funding of 2.5% when inflation alone is 3.5% - this is a CUT
    - biggest labour problem at local level is that conservative councils freeze council tax rates, whilst labour push them up, what better way to counter this conservative benefit for the people, by cutting central government funding

    this is in stark contrast to recent years, where in my area it has taken more than 2 years to get basic repairs done to our road surface and kerbstones, it costs £120 to repair a single kerbstone, that anyone can buy privately for £8
    yes, we had labour local councils and labour controlled county council, they have now been voted out of office, so central labour government now propose cuts to funding.

    id wager that the people will not get any refunds for fewer services, the money will be saved by those "in power" and we will all face increases in council tax above inflation

    when will people learn, the labour party only do things that strengthens the labour party's position with the electorate and not for the benefit of the people of the UK!

  • Comment number 64.

    What we will see at most councils is cuts to core services as those have the largest budgets and the overpaid and overresourced middle managers - who should be the ones being givien their early retirements - will conclude that people will notice cuts less. Expensive (per head) minority, agenda driven areas will thrive especially as these are always sacred cows that cannot be touched in case someone is accused of bias or an "-ism".

    Core services are what we pay for and should expect to have delivered well. Sadly, as everything is not contracted out to private companies with profit agendas this is not going to happen either...

  • Comment number 65.

    The only jobs cuts that should take place in local Councils are that of the local councillors themselves. Their mismanagement of public money has been staggering. We have had the Westminster expenses scandal now what about local Council expenses? Many of these local councillors have no empathy with local residents at all. My own Council, London Borough of Barnet, are nothing but a pack of thieves hellbent on ignoring the wishes of residents. Take a cool hard look at what your council is like? What do they offer you for your good money?

  • Comment number 66.

    Council staff cuts are long overdue but equally importantly, reduce the pensions and associated pension contributions of ALL civil servants. 50% of council tax goes towards pension contributions, this is quite ridiculous, completely unsustainable and frankly downright unfair even when the economy is booming let alone in difficult times. Even giants like BT have a pension hole and all down to offering pensions that could NOT be supported in the long term. Other pension holders have suffered, why shouldn't the public sector?

  • Comment number 67.

    The more council job cuts the better, I want my council tax reduced and don't care about cuts in services.

    The real world has experienced job cuts, pay freeze, cancellation of final salary pensions so it's about time council workers experienced it as well.

    For too long councils have used tax payers as the cash cow.

  • Comment number 68.

    The problem is that Labour spend to much and tories don't spend enough!

    Its a case of getting the balance correct.

  • Comment number 69.

    There will be the usual hysteria about "cuts to vital front-line services" but this is nonsense. I know an ordinary council worker with 20 years' service who is entitled to 35 days' annual leave, plus 8 public holidays, plus up to 2 days' flexi-time leave per month. That's 67 days pa (excluding sickness). If you ring him, there is a 1-in-4 chance he'll be on leave!! So, two suggestions: 1) Abolish flexi-time (otherwise known as surfing the internet for the other half of your lunch break) and 2) raise the age at which public sector pensions can be paid to the same as the State Retirement Date or, better still, time limit them to 25 years' max. The first measure will immediately increase productivity in councils by 10%, enabling people who leave not to be replaced; the second will encourage thousands of LG workers to delay their retirement, or defer taking their pension. Either way, the country will save a fortune in the next few years (when it matters). NEITHER of these will have ANY impact in front line services. It just moves councils towards the norm in the private sector. See, it's quite straightforward to make cuts without damaging services to all those vulnerable people the public sector claims to serve so selflessly.

  • Comment number 70.

    No, I'm not worried at all, in fact budget cuts are probably just what my local council needs.

    Some parts of the council are run very well, but others are not. They are staffed with too many people who one suspects would be incapable of finding a job in the private sector as they are bumbling incompetents. A cull of such people and a move to learning from the council departments that are well managed would save a lot of money and probably improve the standard of services at the same time.

  • Comment number 71.

    The problem is that they'll cut all the important jobs, leaving the non-jobs behind.

    So, care homes, libraries etc will suffer, but the "lesbian women's multicultural teashop liason officer" will still have a job.

    Lots of council jobs do NEED to go, they are massively overstaffed and bloated, it's just that I have no confidence any common sense will be used in deciding who goes.

    It wouldn't surprise me at all if the councils fired lots of important, front-line, people, precisely so that they can say 'look what happens when we don't have enough money, we need to put up council taxes'. The managers and non-jobs won't go, precisely because no one will notice if they go, so it wouldn't give the councils the ammunition they want for putting up taxes.

    They need to get a couple of people from the private sector in for an afternoon, and they'll soon sort out the wheat from the chaff.

  • Comment number 72.

    I am very concerned about councils cutting their services , and this survey especially mentions Leeds , well this morning I thought I would check this out for myself with Leeds council as my union has been talking about cuts with the council now for some time .They have told me and others that we should take no notice of this survey , actually to take it with a pinch of salt , so I think before the BBC scare monger they should tell us how this survey was compiled , as I understand from my union and a councillor that the department who answered this have not got a full picture of overall activity within Leeds council so therefore would be unable to give any factual account .

  • Comment number 73.

    There is obviously a large amount of dead wood in the public sector - non-jobs everywhere. These are the areas that need to be cut. I don't need a diversity officer, I don't need thousands of pounds spent on translations of every council publication - I need my bins emptied and roads maintained etc. My only experience of dealing with my local council was painful to say the least, too many non-jobs and jobs worths. I know someone who works for a council - I believe it's like a holiday camp, run by overpaid cliques of useless pen pushers and lentil munchers.

  • Comment number 74.

    Get rid of public sector subsidised pensions.
    Why should we pay for someone else’s pension when we can’t afford to pay for our own?

  • Comment number 75.

    No,because the way our council in Hastings is wasting money there must be plenty of it available,it's the lack of democracy at local level that worries me more.

  • Comment number 76.

    Council cuts are like everything else turning the country into a disaster zone !! English jobs for English people what a load of rubbish that comment was

  • Comment number 77.

    #58 - this is exactly my experience as well.

    Lots of public sector jobs require 'public sector experience' as part of their job description. This seems to be precisely so that the applicants will be slackers and won't show up their colleagues, or cause trouble by complaining.

    Private sector workers starting in the public sector 'back office' jobs do have great trouble seeing how little work the public sector officers do, or how many of them there are to do the work that a single private sector worker could do. (Front-line staff are different, as they usually work very hard, until they get promoted to management, when they seem to think they've earned the right not to work any more).

    We need private sector managers to go in with a big scythe and cut out all the rubbish from the management teams, and you'd cut the bills in half, without any reduction in services at all.

    Unfortunately, that won't happen. The managers would prefer to keep their cushy non-jobs, and sack front-line staff so that those measly members of the public suffer for not being willing to pay more council tax.

  • Comment number 78.

    Like Mrs. Silly I also have a funny feeling very few job will be lost for those on wages above £50,000, and it wouldn't surprise me if wages for front-line jobs were reduced as well. All of which makes me wonder if the kind of service we'll be paying for will be one worth having.

  • Comment number 79.

    56. At 09:22am on 01 Mar 2010, Phillip of England wrote:
    "Services such as libraries, care homes, the arts and leisure are most at risk."

    'How can this be? How can we allow this to happen? Local Authorities, like all Public Sector employers are chocked to the gills with countless and surplus, middle managers, administrators, performance managers and various other spurious positions, generally un-needed - created by Labour to fill the unemployment gap.

    These are the people that should be going first, not care homes, not leisure staff or other 'front line' positions.'

    I agree with many of your decent sentiments but this is not a Labour created problem. I would argue that many of the Councils planning cuts are Conservative controlled Councils particularly so in England. Many of these Councils have been mismanaging public money as a matter of course and then blaming it on national Government. This is untrustworthy and shows a real lack of character and competence amongst many local Councillors. Now what are we going to do about it?

  • Comment number 80.

    The public have to live within their income and for too long the Councils have not and the day of balance has now come. Too many are paid too much so lets remove a £50K person and keep the two £25k people who are probably doing a real job. They have been overspending for years. Less said about the CC pension black hole or the loss of our monies in Iceland. One of the blessing of our economic woes is to get Councils etc to face the real world with real economic spending not "there wishful " spending.

  • Comment number 81.

    I am more worried about the overspending of the public sector (local and national government) than I am about the cuts needed so that the council can live within its means. However, there does need to be close attention paid to how councils prioritise their services such that cuts fall in the right place. Cutting out free translation services for those people who cannot be bothered to learn English (or pay for translation) would be a suitable place to start. All council forms, documentation and services should only be provided in English. Also free bus and train journeys for all over 60's regardless of their need is extravagent in current times, and I say this even though I benefit from it. Councils should uses referenda to determine which services its taxpayers most (or least) value when deciding on cuts.

  • Comment number 82.

    I suspect that if every council is like mine (Denbighshire) they can shed excesses of manpower and the only way we'd notice is.
    1. We might not have road sweepers jolleying around country lanes.
    2. When we see a sign road works ahead we will see people working and not at 09.00 in the morning having their breakfast in the cab of their wagon. Before any cuts are made there should be an investigation of council officers salaries. Council tax has risen in the last twelve years at least by double the official inflation rate. How much has the senior council officials salaries risen in that time? All as I see for what I pay is my bin being emptied and as for the councils performance with the roads during the snowy spell, well all I can say it was disgusting.

  • Comment number 83.

    Services are already being cut - my wife teaches at a College of FE and all the part time teaching staff (50% of the team) were let go 2 weeks ago as teh college has had a huge budget cut already. On the other hand, there's clearly a lot of fat to be trimmed - hearing that in Leeds they were having to stop the biscuits at council meetings (The firm I work for did that in the 90s!) shows how far they can go before really important stuff goes.

  • Comment number 84.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 85.

    Yes I am extremely concerned about all welfare and domestic cut backs.
    At a time when our roads are in the worst condition ever, the councils are cutting back on maintenance.

    Why is gov not cutting back on : -
    Overseas Donations !!!!
    Support for immigrants
    Non sensical boards of enquiries

    Up to a £trillion can be saved in this way so why make the Brit Citizen suffer instead??
    No sense at all in consecutive governments.

    Vote for the fringe parties I will

  • Comment number 86.

    Why do we have so much street lighting nowadays? Councils could save lots of money by turning off alternate lights at 9pm and all of them at 11.30pm

    Cars don't need them, people can use torches if they have to be out that late at night.

    Criminals need light as well, so streetlights help criminals rather than hinder them. If someone wants to break into a house, it's a lot less obvious if they do it by the light of a streetlamp, than if they have to carry their own torch.

    Here we are with people moaning about having to reduce energy usage, and councils are just throwing away millions of kWh of electricity a year for pointless streetlighting.

  • Comment number 87.

    What an unbelievable question. Somehow over the last 13 years, well-cloaked socialists have succeeded in making the public service a sacred cow. Gone are the days of public sector workers regarding themselves as public servants, and duty-bound to give as much value-add for the best value they can. Gone are the concerns over efficiency and %GDP spent on non-wealth creating jobs when the country is broke. Instead it now seems to be a civil right to get a job for life at the tax-payers expense.

    Now any job loss is regrettable. But I don't need to remind anyone of the number of jobs gone in the private sector over the last couple of years, and the suffering there, which is more than on order of magnitude more than the numbers headlined here. With the exception of some greedy and incompetent bankers (urgh!), the tax-payer didn't step in to guarantee their jobs. To deliver its advantages, a capitalist system unavoidably means job losses during downturns and industrial restructuring.

    And by the way, we can have great/satisfactory public services without wasting a fortune. Headlines that any cuts to front-line services means life will stop or is not worth living anymore is pure scare-mongering and utter trash. PLEASE GET REAL! PLEASE LOOK AT SOME HISTORICAL FINANCIAL GRAPHS FOR PUBLIC SPENDING IN THE LAST CENTURY. AND PLEASE RESTORE SOME PERSPECTIVE AND BALANCE TO THIS SUBJECT!

  • Comment number 88.

    What a load of nonsense. This is just pure propoganda. There are currently no cuts to local gevernment funding. In fact the funding has increased this year, which is why for most councils this will be the lowest council tax increase for years. I've no doubt there will be cuts, but currently there are is no information to predict anything let alone 25,000 jobs to go. Its just shear fantasy and very worrying that the BBC is prepared to publish such rubbish as news.

    Is the BBC being unwittingly being sucked in to the TORY propoganda machine. Its about time they understood the difference between News and fiction.

  • Comment number 89.

    I have a friend who has worked for Rotherham MBC for tens of years. It's served him well, but he is consciencious and responsible. We had a long talk about the state of the council and his attitude is that "everybody is so busy looking over their shoulders that no work gets done, it's one huge paper trail". My background is high level management in IT companies where, whilst not publically accountable, you are very highly scrutinised in terms of providing stakeholders with good value. I regularly achieved this by, if you'll forgive the jargon, looking for the problem, taking responsibility for it, and fixing it. There is no room for passing the blame.

    After pressing my friend with so much council experience it became clear that much of the problem lies with staff who cannot (whether through their fault or not) take responsibility and "own" work. Some are lazy. Some are hampered by bad management. What a shame. It makes me want to work for the council!

    So my opinion on the cutbacks is this: use the cull to get rid of the lazy, the inefficient, and the plain useless. Be sensible and compassionate! Some people appear lazy because of bad management! Pare back the teams and empower them to be lean and efficient and to make more decisions and be more responsible. I bet most councils could do more work with half the staff they currently have.

    Change is always feared but usually yields terrific opportunity to improve things.

    I realise that using terms like "lean" and "efficient" when referring to local council effectively resigns me to the barking-at-the-moon nutter squad, but let me ask you- Why does it need to be like that? How did that perception come about?

  • Comment number 90.

    My council has a "Diversity and Community Engagement Team".

    I'm not sure I even know what that is, but I'm pretty sure that no-one other than the people who work there would be in the slightest bit inconvenienced if the team were disbanded tomorrow.

  • Comment number 91.

    Not really, a lot of council workers are overpaid for the 'cushty' numbers they are on.

  • Comment number 92.

    The Health & Safety departments could do with a decent thinning out!

  • Comment number 93.

    I recommend comment #77.

  • Comment number 94.

    If you're not then you should be, In the end which ever party wins is likely to make a million in the public sector unemployed, the only difference is the timescale (Labour a bit later & possibly more gradual). These jobs will almost entirely come from the people who actually do the work rather than the bosses (& HR) who will also insist on keeping most of their little perks, the and will result will be fewer & poorer services. In Scotland, where Council tax has been frozen for a few years, most of the easy cuts have already been made so there will be no option but to cut back on key services immediately. Neither party will tell councils exactly what cuts they intend to make so councils have only been able to make rudimentary plans.

  • Comment number 95.

    It saddens me to read so many comments about "cutting" jobs at a time when we cannot afford increases in unemployment. Sure, there are "bad" public sector jobs, many of them and mostly at excessive salaries, but they are not the most likely to be removed. Grants from the EU form a major part of income for Councils, and MPs and councillors are well rehearsed in where this money is. There are also "closed door" deals done in areas with particularly high unemployment.

    Our taxes, local and central, are a shambles, with income tax forming only a share of the total outgoings of the average family. The high costs of council tax is because the system is unfair. It is noteworthy that New Labour, in thirteen years, have done nothing to reduce the unfair loading on fixed income people and low income families. The Tories gave us the iniquitous system and there is nothing to suggest they will make it easier for those less able to pay.

    I repeat my earlier comment. How many billions went to profligate bankers? By all means seek to sort the local government mess out but do so by linking the issue to central government and the private sector too. Local and central government contracts with private companies are a sham.

  • Comment number 96.

    I live in North-Central London & I am painfully aware of the lack of customer service skills of the staff of my local council. In order to justify the exorbitant level of council tax which my local authority demands from me, and the amount of cash which the council pays its staff, the council must ensure that its staff are more thoroughly trained so that they deserve the salaries (and pensions)they are paid. I believe local authorities have been allowed to fall short of the high standards exemplified by other public sector departments and agencies, and that central government must be allowed to intervene more directly and ensure that local authority standards of customer service match those elsewhere in the public sector.

  • Comment number 97.

    I work in Liverpool, the other month I watched in amazement as a council cherry picker parked on the opposite side of the street. 3 council workers disembarked, one jumped into the cherry picker cradle, raised it approximately 6ft and changed a light bulb in a one way street sign, while the other 2 watched - priceless!!!!

  • Comment number 98.

    It worries me that they will cut important services such as refuse men, library staff, care workers and not make the cuts where they are needed - Amongst unnecessary management. Too many chiefs and not enough Indians!.

  • Comment number 99.

    Andrew Morrison comments that the job cuts should be made to the councillors themselves - but remember councillors are not employees, but are meant to "volunteer" their time for the comunity, claiming only out of pocket expenses.
    However a large number of them clearly consider the expenses pot as a form of income, and somehow also contrive to join the very generous council "employees" pension scheme.
    Council services themselves are run by an expensive array of managers, the councillors are there to provide - allegedly - direction and oversight.

  • Comment number 100.

    My worry about council cuts is that they won't fall in the right places. We need to cut the massive salaries of some officials, advisors and consultants. Then we need to cut back on irritating and often oppressive policies of the bin stasi - fines for leaving one's bin out too long, computer chips in the bin to fine people who put too much in their bins. And do we need so much attention to grass verges on the side of the road? Spraying poison on bluebells that `spread to the footpaths, and so on. Do we need large planning departments when decisions regarding buildings are taken by developers? And the constant spying - hidden cameras and DNA tests for dog pooh, etc. We need big cuts in order to empower local communities.


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