About 40,000 council jobs could be lost this year according to research from the Times newspaper.
A survey of 106 town halls conducted last week found that 65 councils were planning to cut 12,144 jobs to cope with a fall in revenue and a tight financial settlement from central government. If the same trend occurred across all 442 councils in the UK, 40,000 jobs could be lost in local government.
Councils said while revenues were declining there was also an increase in demand for services as the recession bites.
Meanwhile, separate research from the Local Government Association showed that half of councils in England have already axed jobs in the past few months and seven in 10 anticipate further redundancies as the recession hits local government.
Chairman of the Local Government Association, Margaret Eaton, said: “It is a highly unpleasant decision for any council to cut jobs, but they also understand that local people are suffering. Councils are working hard to keep council tax down, to keep local businesses afloat and help people deal with the impact of the recession.
“Town halls are facing some difficult budget decisions this year against a backdrop of falling income at a time when more and more people are turning to the town halls to help them through tough times. There are no simple answers or quick-fix solutions, but councils are working to get the balance right so that the country’s economy doesn’t suffer in the long term and taxpayers don’t suffer in the short term.”
Last month, Personnel Today reported that scores of HR jobs could be affected by the council jobs cull as back-office positions were announced by councils as being at risk.