Council job cuts will hit women hardest, warns Audit Commission

Women could be hardest hit by proposed council cutbacks, the Audit Commission has warned.

In its Surviving the Crunch report, the commission warned that, on average, 25% of working women were employed in local public services, while in 50 areas, including the northeast, Merseyside and east London, this rises to more than 30%, the Guardian has reported.

Diane Ridley, author of the report and head of research at the commission, said: “We can see families where the man has already lost their job in the private sector recession and then the woman in the family loses their [public sector] job. You have to think about the impact on such areas. What we are asking is for councils to look at all options.”

Ridley said councils could follow the private sector’s lead, retaining workforces by cutting costs in other areas like reducing overtime, looking at expenses, offering part-time work, and pay freezes and pay cuts.

She added: “Few councils are exploring all these options as a way of minimising the negative impact of their decisions on the local jobs market.”

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