Up to 73,000 council jobs ”at risk next year”

Public libraries and leisure services are going to be hit hardest by cuts to local authority budgets, with more than 25 per cent of councils planning large scale reductions to these budgets over the next twelve months, according to a survey by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA).

The survey, completed by 166 councils, also showed that up to 73,000 job losses could be under consideration in England alone as councils prepare their 2010/11 budgets. Of these, around 30 per cent are likely to be frontline non-managerial posts.

Around 20 per cent of councils are expecting cuts of 50 per cent or more and 44 per cent are expecting cuts of between 30 and 50 per cent, the survey found, and investment in capital projects such as new schools and leisure facilities will “fall decisively”. At the same time, there will be cuts of up to 20 per cent in such services as highways, economic development, environmental health, planning, street cleaning, waste and recycling, and adult social care.

The survey also showed that 96 per cent of local authorities are planning to enter into a shared service arrangement with another council.

CIPFA chief executive Steve Freer said: “These are not final budget figures. But they illustrate the scale of the significant cuts which councils are contemplating and which will be firmed up as 2011/12 budgets are finalised over the next few weeks.”