Leeds City Council made the bombshell announcement last night, as its leader Judith Blake urged the new Government under Theresa May to “consider a change of direction in relation to deficit reduction and potential future funding for local Government”.
In a starkly worded extended statement ahead of a crucial cabinet meeting next week, the authority confirmed that “between now and 2020 the council has identified it will need to reduce the size of the workforce by perhaps up to 2,000 (full time equivalent) people”.
“A key implication of the challenges facing the council due to the increased funding cuts from the Government will be on its own workforce,” the statement added. “Wherever possible the council will still try to manage reductions voluntarily however if they become unavoidable any compulsory redundancies will be managed openly and fairly in line with policies agreed with the trade unions.”
Leeds City Council currently employs just under 15,000 people, with 12,708 full time equivalent positions.
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By the end of the current year, Leeds’ core funding from the Government will have been cut by around £214 million since 2010. The authority estimates that along with other “demand led pressures”, it will have had to save £400m by March 2017.
Coun Blake said: “As a council we will do all we can to minimise the effect of the cuts on vulnerable people as well as on our workforce. All residents can also do their bit in their own homes and communities to help our city reduce the amount of public money we need to spend.”