Liverpool

Liverpool City Council to cut 1,500 posts

Council offices in Liverpool
Image caption Staff were being briefed on the jobs cuts on Thursday morning

About 1,500 jobs are to go at Liverpool City Council because of government spending cuts, the authority has said.

The Labour-run council needs to reduce staff numbers by the end of March 2013 and said compulsory redundancies would be necessary.

Town hall bosses said they had to find £141m of savings between now and 2013 - £91m of them in 2011/12.

The council, which has 9,000 employees, said it could not yet confirm the areas affected.

'Deeply unfair'

Liverpool City Council leader Joe Anderson said: "We are going through a series of investigations into which services we can continue to provide.

"Some of the services that are going to have to stop will inevitably mean that the jobs attached to those services will go.

""We're working with staff and looking to take out as many jobs as possible on a voluntary basis.

"There will come a stage, and it will come very soon, when we have to start making compulsory redundancies.

Media captionLiverpool City Council leader Joe Anderson: 'We aren't deficit deniers, we want fairness'

"The shame of this is that we've asked for a period of not just two years, but four years, so that we can mitigate the effects of the cuts and staff and services."

Councillor Paul Brant, deputy leader of the council, said: "Ever since the government announced the scale of the cuts Liverpool was facing, we have known it was going to be the beginning of a number of traumatic years for the city council."

He added: "The way in which the government has divided up the cuts means cities like Liverpool... are facing a disproportionate share of the burden. In my view that is deeply unfair."

Front-line services would not be able to be fully protected, he said, but the council would be looking to protect the most vulnerable.

He warned: "There is no doubt the cuts we are making are going to affect people's lives in the city."

Cuts to grants have been imposed by the coalition government to try to cut the national budget deficit.

A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman said: "The government has delivered a tough but fair settlement ensuring the most vulnerable communities were protected.

"If councils share back office services, join forces to procure, cut out the non-jobs and root out the over-spends then they can protect frontline services."

He said when calculating the settlement, ministers ensured formula grant funding per head was higher in parts of the country with the greatest need, such as Liverpool.

"In 2011-12 Liverpool will still receive a central government grant of £796 per head, compared for example to £125 per head in Wokingham," he said.

'Devastating impact'

Union leaders reacted angrily to the proposals, which is the latest in a line of job cuts announced by councils.

GMB general secretary Paul Kenny said: "These 1,500 job losses announced by Liverpool City Council bring the number in the GMB list to 145,842 in 212 councils and authorities.

"Local government minister Bob Neill will say that we are scaremongering and confusing job cuts with a reduction in posts in local government, but he knows that the UK government is cutting hundreds of thousands of jobs in the public sector but they are trying to do it in the dark."

Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, added: "These cuts are more bad news for people in Liverpool. It is a disgrace that the workforce had to find out about the sheer scale of the cuts over the radio."

The Unite union said north-west England was being hit by a "tidal wave" of local government staff cuts which could see at least 4,500 jobs going at Liverpool, Manchester, and Sefton councils.

Regional officer Debbie Brannan said: "The council workforces did not create the financial mess we are now in, it was a rampant, greedy, out-of-control City.

"Why should a refuse collector in Liverpool pay for the mistakes of a bonus-bloated City banker?"

The city council, which expects to hear the level of its government grant settlement on 10 February, is due to set its budget on 2 March.

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