Manchester jobs bombshell!

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Trade unions yesterday reacted angrily to Manchester City Council’s announcement of 2,000 job cuts.

The Labour-run council said it needed to reduce its workforce by about 17 per cent after changes to local authority grants left a big gap in its finances. It needs to find £110 million of savings in 2011-12, £60 million more than expected.

The GMB union’s latest list shows that a total of 113,765 posts are under threat of being made redundant at 145 councils across Britain.

‘If government ministers persist in saying that these are not real job losses then the public should conclude that they do not know what they are doing and are out of touch, or simply don’t care,’ said GMB general secretary Paul Kenny yesterday.

In nearly all these councils a 90 day statutory consultation period is underway on how to deal with these job losses.

Councils have given notice that they plan to delete vacant posts and seek volunteers for early retirement and redundancy. Some volunteers have already left.

Since the GMB press release of 10 January listing 131 councils, another 14 councils and authorities have been added to the list.

These include Manchester City Council, 2,000; Leicestershire County Council,1,000 job cuts; London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham,700; Darlington Unitary Authority, 360; Swindon Unitary Authority, 238 full time equivalent; and Scarborough Borough Council, 60.

There are a total of 353 councils in England, 22 in Wales and 32 in Scotland plus a total of 90 other authorities including national parks, police, fire and waste.

For a total of 352 authorities the GMB has not yet established the number of posts under threat.

In Manchester, Unite regional officer Keith Hutson said: ‘Our members are outraged.

‘Unite will campaign to reverse these savage cuts which will hit some of the most vulnerable in society – but these cuts won’t impact on the bonus-riddled City elite that caused the financial crisis in the first place.

‘Unite members will be considering a consultative ballot for industrial action to stop these cuts to a hard-working and dedicated workforce, providing important services to the community.’

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: ‘The shockwaves of 2,000 job losses will spread across the City of Manchester and beyond.

‘The government’s cuts have been targeted at some of the most deprived areas in the country and Manchester is clearly in the firing line.

‘The council had been working with Unison to try to lessen the impact of budget cuts, but the Local Government finance settlement in December, was the final straw.’

l The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) yesterday held UK interest rates at 0.5 per cent, and unveiled no new quantitative easing (QE) measures. Rates have been held at 0.5 per cent since March 2009.

The UK trade deficit in goods increased to £8.7 billion in November, compared with a deficit of £8.6 billion in October (originally published as a deficit of £8.5 billion), the Office for National Statistics reported yesterday.

Exports rose by £0.9 billion and imports rose by £1.1 billion.