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UK: Warning 73,000 Jobs Could Go as Big Society Plan Pushed on
Source: channel4.com
Source Date: Monday, December 13, 2010
Focus: Knowledge Management in Government, Institution and HR Management
Country: Europe
Created: Dec 13, 2010

Councils are set to find out how much funding is to be cut, as the government pushes ahead with its Big Society agenda, unveiling a Localism Bill to give communities more powers over local services.

The government is giving communities the right to take over local services and vote on housing developments in its Decentralisation and Localism Bill for England and Wales, due to be published today.

It gives residents the right to question how services are run and potentially take them over. These could include children's centres, social care and transport. The bill gives communities more say over planning and deciding where new housing developments can be built. It also includes the abolition of Home Improvement Packs and will give residents the power to veto 'excessive' council tax increases.

Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, posted on his Twitter page on Friday "Localism Bill will be introduced next Monday. Lots of power to Councils". He has said that the bill "puts new rights in law for people to protect, improve and even run important frontline services."

"[It is] also a massive opportunity for the community and voluntary sector to demonstrate their innovation and the new ideas they can bring to the table for better, cost effective services," Mr Pickles said.

Job cuts

It comes as a survey carried out by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, and completed by 166 local councils in England, Wales and Scotland, found that up to 73,000 jobs could be under threat in England alone.

The survey found that 30 per cent of the jobs under consideration are likely to be front-line, non-managerial posts. It also shows that spending on services such as highways, environmental health, planning, street cleaning, waste and recycling could be reduced by ten to 20 per cent. Adult social care services are also going to be vulnerable to cuts.

Meanwhile, the GMB Union has warned that the latest threats of local authority job cuts are in Trafford, Preston, Wirral, Cheshire, Cambridgeshire and Gloucestershire. It is also concerned that the pace of redundancies will quicken in the New Year.

The Union said that over 70 local authorities in England, Wales and Scotland have now issued warnings of job losses as a result of the Government's Spending Review.

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