Tens of thousands of council jobs in England could be at risk over the next five years as local authorities struggle with the fall-out from the recession, according to a survey published today.Tee hee!
The survey by BBC English Regions suggested that almost one in ten of the workforce in some councils could be vulnerable as authorities are forced to cut back.
There's not a lot of sympathy in the blogosphere, it's true...
And, as ever, the 'Daily Mash' skewers this story with efortless precision.
The Local Government Association (LGA) said that councils had been hit by a "perfect storm" and had little choice but to shed jobs.Really? Note that she doesn't say how, but I suspect it doesn't involve five-a-day outreach workers or diversity co-ordination and communication teams...
"Sources of income have dropped sharply at a time when more and more people are turning to councils to help them through tough times," said LGA chairman Dame Margaret Eaton.
Tony Travers, the director of the Greater London group at the London School of Economics, warned that the scale of the cuts meant that the public would inevitably be affected.Umm, if those are all viable options, why aren't you doing them already, you leeches!
"Nothing like this has happened for a generation. To minimise the impacts on the public would require massive efficiencies in all services, higher charges for many, and sharing back-office staff with other public bodies."
Needless to say, ministers are rolling their eyes and shifting restlessly like spooked cattle at the thought that this might affect their GE campaign:
However, the Department for Communities and Local Government - which is today issuing guidance to councils on how to avoid cuts to frontline services by improving efficiency - said local authorities should not try to blame ministers for their difficulties.Well, they aren't going to listen to that, are they? The only other option is to blame themselves for the top-heavy staffing situation, and that's not going to fly...
"Any decisions to cut frontline services or announce big job losses this year are very much local decisions. Councils should not try to blame Whitehall," a spokesman said.
Libraries, the arts and leisure were identified as the services most vulnerable to cuts, while services for the homeless, children's social services and planning were more likely to be protected.Well, of course. Got to make sure those cuts affect the public, and not the empire builders, after all..