Welsh councils to cut hundreds of jobs in 2009

At least 700 council jobs are expected to be cut in Wales this year, with a further 1,300 gone by 2011, the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) has said.

A survey of Wales’ 22 local authorities has found that 11 are predicting job cuts in 2009, with most of these concentrated in South Wales. Councils in South-East Wales expect to be hardest hit, and will make 300 redundancies, while South-West Wales will make 200.

Council income in Wales for 2009-10 is expected to fall short by nearly £35m.

Almost half of Welsh councils have already reduced staff numbers by seeking voluntary redundancies or introducing a full or partial recruitment freeze.

WLGA leader, councillor John Davies, said: “These are extraordinarily tough times for councils. We are all in the situation where our income is falling, yet our expenditure is increasing.

“Over the last year, we have already seen a significant downsizing of local government services and staff levels as a result of insufficient funding for local government. The recession has exacerbated local government pressures at a time when councils are already struggling through insufficient budget settlements.”

The fall in council income is being blamed on repeated interest rate cuts, a decline in planning applications, and a fall in asset sales.

Earlier in the week, Personnel Today reported that 40,000 council jobs are expected to be cut across the UK in 2009, with Leeds council alone making 650 redundancies by the end of the year.

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