Scottish local authority job losses set to exceed 10,000
By David Scott in Edinburgh
18 February 2011
Thousands of local government jobs in Scotland are to be axed following council decisions on their budgets.Pat Watters, president of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, told Public Finance that none of the 32 councils or any of the departments within them were likely to escape job cuts.
‘Each authority is trying to keep job losses to a minimum but I would be very surprised if there are not job losses in every council,’ he said.
‘The reductions will be right across the board with councils trying to protect frontline services.’
Present estimates suggest that total local government job losses in Scotland will exceed 10,000 over the next three years.
Glasgow City Council, Scotland’s biggest local authority, is already cutting 2,700 posts. These include 139 jobs in financial services. Of these, 79 finance officers have already left and the remainder are due to go between now and March 2013.
A spokesman for the city council said the job losses were being achieved through an early retirement package for those aged 50 or more and by voluntary agreement.
Edinburgh City Council plans to reduce its workforce by 1,200 over the next three years. This cut follows a 2.3% staffing reduction in 2010, which included teachers. According to the council, the latest job losses will be achieved ‘across services’ and will include reducing ‘layers’ of management.
Councils have struggled to avoid making compulsory redundancies so far but these cannot be ruled out in future, Cosla says.
Aberdeen City Council has pulled back from the brink of compulsory redundancies affecting 900 employees. After pressure from the unions, the Liberal Democrat-Scottish National Party council decided to achieve about 600 job losses by other means.
However, the administration issued a joint statement, saying: ‘Without significant improvement in the council’s funding, compulsory redundancies may be required in the future.’
Aberdeenshire Council plans to shed up to 900 posts while North Lanarkshire Council is aiming to cut its workforce by 600 in an attempt to save £55m. Neighbouring South Lanarkshire is due to lose 340 posts.
Unison’s Scottish regional organiser, Douglas Black, said it looked as if staff in services such as social work and education would ‘take a big hit’.
He said the union would be examining the situation council by council and it was still unclear how many jobs would be affected. He added: ‘Nobody is safe here.’
Cosla estimates that councils have lost a total of £450m in funding because of a 2.5% reduction in the amount local government receives from the Scottish Government.