32,000 council jobs ‘facing the axe’ in Scotland

Almost 32,000 council jobs could be lost in Scotland in the next four years, it has been predicted. Glasgow City Council is negotiating a raft of stinging cuts and redundancies, with more than 2,000 staff opting for redundancy deals.

Now the possible scale of future losses across the country has emerged in the light of savings proposed by one of Scotland’s best-performing local authorities.

West Lothian Council says its cuts include axing 1,000 full-time posts from its total of 8,000.

If every one of Scotland’s 32 councils sheds the same proportion of posts it would mean the local government workforce – currently about 250,000, excluding police and fire and rescue – being cut by nearly 32,000 by 2014.

Ross Martin, former senior West Lothian councillor and now director of independent ideas group the Centre For Scottish Public Policy, said staff reductions of about 1,000 for an ­average-sized council over the next few years could now be expected.

Mr Martin added: “If a slimmed-down, efficient and highly regarded council is looking to shed one in eight full-time posts, other authorities will have to shed even more staff and make more severe cuts in service provision.”

In the coming financial year, Scotland’s councils will have to make £300million of cuts, impacting on core areas such as education, social work, library provision and road repairs.

But it is not until after 2011 the full impact of the squeeze on public spending will be felt.

Deficits of 15% by 2014 are now being seen as conservative estimates by many in Scottish local government, with Glasgow, the largest authority, planning to reduce its workforce by 4,000 in the coming years.

West Lothian estimates it will have a deficit of £45m between 2011 and 2014.