Half of UK councils plan job cuts

Almost half of UK councils are planning major job cuts in the next 18 months as the recession bites and their funding is set to be slashed by up to 15%, a survey has revealed.

The joint KPMG/Total Politics study of 128 senior local authority figures, published today, found that 43% of council leaders and 57% of chief executives said major head count reductions were “very likely”.

A majority also said that increasing efficiency would be one of the biggest challenges.

Iain Hasdell, UK head of local government at KPMG, said: “Reductions in Whitehall funding to local governments in England and Wales could be in the order of 15% in real terms, the toughest squeeze on council finances in the post-war era.”

The survey comes just days after Personnel Today reported that more than half a million job cuts are likely across the public sector by 2012, according to Gillian Hibberd, the president of the Public Sector People Manager’s Association.

Hibberd told Personnel Today that local governments were already looking to reduce head count by 10% by 2012. A 10% reduction in local government staff levels would see the loss of 290,400 jobs. If applied to the wider public sector, it would mean 578,300 jobs would go.

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