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Council job cuts to continue

Further job losses are expected in local government, the Audit Commission and Local Government Association warn in a joint report.

In the past year, there have already been 145,000 staff cut in English councils, but further cuts are on the way, they suggest.

Audit Commission chairman Michael O'Higgins said: “Each council must find its own way of cutting costs tailored to local needs, local circumstances and its own workforce. Councils are often the largest employer in their area, so downsizing can affect the local economy.

“Local government is a people business, with staff costs accounting for almost half the money spent by councils, so they need to be aware of all their options and the tools at their disposal.”

Local government minister Grant Shapps said: “We’ve been clear that frontline staff and services should be protected and, as this report makes clear, the best councils are finding ways to do this by sharing back office staff, closing vacant posts, allowing natural waste, reviewing bonus schemes and not renewing agency staff.”

LGA chairman Sir Merrick Cockell added: “Funding cuts have meant workforce costs must come down. Councils have been ahead of the game in making savings and have already started to reduce workforce costs.

“Unfortunately, job losses are inevitable given the scale of cuts. Where these are necessary, councils are working hard to minimise disruption to staff and services through restructuring, shared services and outsourcing. They are also looking at how they invest in and reward people to ensure they continue to deliver the most efficient public services possible.”

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