Page last updated at 16:29 GMT, Thursday, 8 October 2009 17:29 UK

Council could shed up to 600 jobs

Aberdeen City Council [Pic: Aberdeen City Council]
The council said it would try to minimise reductions

Up to 600 jobs could be shed at Aberdeen City Council in an effort to balance the budget, it has been announced.

The local authority may have to trim 5% off its budget in the next financial year, a total saving of £16.9m.

A 90-day consultation is under way with the trade unions "on ways of minimising the impact of job cuts".

It was not immediately clear which posts would be lost. The council said it was a difficult economic climate.

The council has a workforce of about 11,000.

Sue Bruce [Pic: Aberdeen City Council]
Very difficult choices will have to be made to produce a balanced budget next year
Sue Bruce

Aberdeen City Council said compulsory redundancies would be a last resort, and it would be looking for voluntary redundancies and reductions in hours.

Chief executive Sue Bruce said: "We are committed to working closely with our staff and the trade unions to minimise the impact of job reductions.

"We must all, however, face the fact that the very difficult economic climate and the extremely tight financial settlement that we are expecting from the Scottish government together mean that very difficult choices will have to be made to produce a balanced budget next year."

Aberdeen South Labour MP Anne Begg said she was "appalled" at the "disturbing" news.

She said: "We're already seeing services being slashed. Goodness knows what else is going to suffer because of this.

"If this was to happen, then we would start to see frontline services being threatened."

Bail out

The MP called called for special government aid to help Aberdeen City Council.

She said all local authorities faced difficult decisions but that the latest cuts in Aberdeen came on top of major previous savings.

Without extra help from the Scottish government, the MP said the city's frail and vulnerable could be hit.

Council cuts protest
Protests have been held about previous council cuts

Tommy Campbell of the Unite union also called on central government to bail out the local authority.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "The Scottish government's budget has been cut by Westminster by £521m next year, yet we have met our commitment to increase local government's share of the budget year-on-year, in recognition of the importance we attach to our partnership with local government.

"Local authorities have indicated that they are prepared to manage within these reduced spending totals, and to approach the resultant challenges in a spirit of partnership.

"Of course, it is up to individual councils to manage their budget and workforce."

He added: "The Scottish government and Cosla have engaged in a joint review of the local government distribution formula, which is intended to inform the distribution in the next spending review period from 2011-12 onwards."

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