Local authorities and consultants have warned that the hiatus in development work followed by a sharp drop in capital spending would spell job losses.
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Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (Adept) vice president Matthew Lugg said that his own authority, Leicestershire County Council, was already preparing up to cut 10% of its highways workforce.
“We have been very ruthless about any recruitment,” he said. “Through natural wastage we now have around 60 to 70 vacant posts which we have filled with agency staff so that we can downsize relatively painlessly for the first 10%.
“We really don’t want to lose our best people.”
The Association for Consultancy & Engineering said it would be concerned if schemes already committed to were to be abandoned unnecessarily ahead of the government’s spending review.
“The impact of cancelling such programmes could potentially be damaging to consultancy and engineering businesses,” it said.