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Page last updated at 07:41 GMT, Monday, 1 March 2010
Councils in Greater Manchester warn of major job cuts
By Richard Stead
Radio Manchester reporter

Refuse collection operator in Manchester
All councils hope to make the cuts without compulsory job losses

Thousands of council jobs are expected be lost in Greater Manchester and Cheshire over the next five years.

The figures are revealed by town hall chief executives as part of a BBC investigation into the scale of council budget cuts.

The savings are due to projected cuts in council spending of between 5% and 25% over the next five years.

All councils contacted said they hoped to achieve the job losses without compulsory redundancies.

Cuts

A combination of the recent recession and the government bailout of the banks has left councils across England bracing themselves for a major squeeze on public funds.

While council spending nationally is actually expected to go up slightly in 2010/11, most authorities are forecasting cuts of 10 - 15% by 2015, with more than 25,000 job losses predicted across the country.

EXPECTED COUNCIL JOB CUTS
Bolton: no response
Bury: no response
Cheshire East: 700
Oldham: 500
Manchester: 100 over 12 months
Rochdale: 700 [Unison figure]
Salford: 400
Stockport: unspecified
Tameside: no response
Trafford: unspecified
Warrington: 296
Wigan: 20 - 25% cut

According to a BBC investigation Facing The Cuts, at least 2,700 jobs are expected to go in Greater Manchester and Cheshire over the same period.

Oldham Council, which employs 3,700 staff, says it expects to reduce that total by around 500 in the next five years.

The biggest cuts in the North West could fall in Cheshire East, where the council says it's expecting to reduce the number of people they employ by 5%, or 700 jobs.

Salford Council says it will be cutting 380 jobs over the next 12 months, while Manchester say it expects to have around 100 fewer employees by this time next year.

And Rochdale Council says it's closing two residential homes for the elderly - Saxonside Care Home in Langley and Meadow View Care Home in Cutgate - as part of plans to save £100 million over the next five years.

Helen Harrison from UNISON in Rochdale says job losses across the borough will be inevitable.

"At the moment we have redundancy notices issued to 200 plus staff," she said. "There's virtually no recruitment and things aren't looking very good".

Rochdale council leader Irene Davidson said it was too early to make any announcements.

"All staff are going to be involved in talks and if we need to lose staff in one department, we're looking to cross them over to another. It would be unfair to say there are going to be compulsory redundancies".

Biscuits

Across Greater Manchester, councils are looking at other ways to save cash such as joining forces to buy products and services in bulk.

At the moment we have redundancy notices issued to 200-plus staff. There's virtually no recruitment and things aren't looking very good.
Helen Harrison, Unison in Rochdale

Salford Council says it even hopes to save £30,000 next year by stopping serving biscuits at town hall meetings as well as looking at new efficiency savings and improved ways of working.

Council Leader John Merry says "The recycling we've introduced in Salford is going to save us substantial amounts of money. We're also saving money through our call centre and the office space we occupy".

Elsewhere, Stockport Council expects to cut spending by up to 10% over five years and says staffing numbers are expected to fall.

Wigan Council is expecting spending cuts of up to 25% over five years. And Trafford is hoping to reduce costs by reviewing at how it cares for older people.

Councils in Bolton, Bury and Tameside were also contacted but failed to respond to the survey.




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