Local authorities will cut around 140,000 jobs in the next year as a result of public spending cuts, the Local Government Association (LGA) said this week.
The LGA’s figure was based on a desk study of announcements and press releases from local councils, and estimates based on ratios for councils that had made no announcements. An LGA spokesman said the study had not addressed which types of jobs would be most heavily cut.
“We cannot escape the fact that some losses will be dedicated professional posts that, given a choice, councils would not want to see go,” said LGA chairman Baroness Margaret Eaton.
The Department for Communities and Local Government said it would not make any comments that would pre-empt the local government finance settlement, which will be published in the coming weeks to clarify the extent of the cuts.
The LGA had originally predicted that spending cuts would lead to 100,000 job losses. It raised its estimate by 40% following new analysis of the Comprehensive Spending Review.
Communities secretary Eric Pickles dismissed the claims as speculation, saying he had “seen better appointed figures put together on the back of a fag packet”.
Pickles said the LGA’s figures were based on speculation. “This is not original research,” he told the BBC. “This is a collection of press releases and the LGA doesn’t know what the level of the cuts are going to be or how they are going to be delivered.”
He said that local authorities should be able to protect frontline roles and make the cuts from “middle management”, resulting in “virtually no difference” to frontline services.