Yorkshire councils announce 2,300 job losses as cuts bite

TWO Yorkshire city councils yesterday announced big job losses in the next few years, Wakefield being set to axe up to 1,700 posts and York around 600.

Wakefield City Council plans to cut 500 jobs this year and over the next four years believes it will have to cut up to 1,700. City of York Council said around 600 jobs would be cut over the next three years.

The bulk of the jobs in York, which will go from all departments, will be lost from 2012, but the city council’s executive member for city strategy, Steve Galloway, said frontline services would be affected as 200 posts were cut this year.

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In Wakefield, around 25 of this year’s job losses will be compulsory.

The city is facing tough choices and yesterday Wakefield said it was increasing the cost of school meals by 20p to £1.80, senior management posts were being cut from 93 to 67, saving £1.7m, the corporate management team has volunteered a five per cent pay cut and garden waste collections will now be monthly instead of fortnightly.

The authority is also considering whether volunteers or others will be interested in running services like libraries, markets and helping maintain parks to save costs.

Wakefield has to save £67m over four years and while council leader Peter Box said services for the vulnerable had been protected, he added: “Cuts as big as these can not be made from efficiencies alone.”

In York the budget also needs a growing reliance on the private sector to provide a number of services to help save £15m over the next three years.

Coun Galloway said the authority had worked to protect frontline services and was confident compulsory redundancies could be avoided. He also said council tax levels would be frozen. “Some of the difficult decisions we have made in terms of using the private sector for care packages. But unlike some authorities we are not planning any major library or leisure centre closures.”