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Leeds to scrap over 70 jobs despite boosting pay above real living wage

Leeds City Council announced plans to cut 74 full-time staff and a 3.99% tax hike as it faces a £24.3m budget deficit in 2019-20.

The local authority has published a raft of cuts in its latest budget proposals as it faces rising demand on adult social care services and substantial cuts to its core government funding.

The proposals include a 3.99% tax rise and 74 full-time staff are to be let go over the next year, with £16m worth of new efficiencies across its workforce and services.

Leader of the Leeds City Council, Judith Blake, said: “We are facing another very difficult and challenging year ahead with our government funding being cut again and rising costs meaning we the need to make further significant savings.

“As an authority we will continue our policy of exploring all options and working with all our partners and our communities to not only protect frontline services and our most vulnerable residents, but also to do everything we can to tackle poverty and inequality in our city.

She added: “Raising council tax is never a decision we take lightly, but due to the funding cuts it helps make an increasingly important contribution and is being stretched more and more each year to pay for frontline services. And with people living longer, we need the additional adult social care element to help provide people with the support and services they need.

With the budget released before the national financial settlement, the council’s core government funding has been cut by around £266m between 2010 and 2020— a 59% reduction.

The council says that it is being forced into making its services increasingly “efficient and enterprising” as it plans to spend 63% of its total budget on protecting vulnerable young and the elderly.

Leeds has also announced that it is raising its minimum wage to £9.18 per hour, 18p above the Real Living Wage, however.

The city council says it will aim to deliver the 74 council job cuts with the same approach to the staff reductions of over 3,200 it has had to make between 2010 and 2018.

The plans also include a commitment to ensuring the safety of high-rise blocks, with money promised for three new fire safety officers to increase the frequency of fire risk assessments.

Blake added: “As a city the profile of Leeds has never been higher which should be a source of great pride, but we know not everyone is benefiting from that and we are committed to ensuring opportunities and growth are inclusive and open to all, but the difficulty should not be underestimated given how much less funding we are being given to work with each year.”

Join Cllr Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council, at EvoNorth  27-28 February, to discuss the future of the Northern Powerhouse. 


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