Labour administration says financial cuts worth 48% of its spending are being forced on the city by Coalition government

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Unions have criticised the ‘sheer madness’ of spending cuts threatened by Birmingham city council.

The Labour administration running the UK’s largest single local authority has warned that £600m budget cuts may require a further 1,000 job losses on top of 1,100 redundancies announced last February.

Council leader, Sir Albert Bore has blamed the financial crisis on Westminster providing less in grants than anticipated on top of rising costs of providing services.

In the next financial year, he says, council will have to find £160 million in savings, with similar savings to follow each year until 2016/17.

Officials estimate the financial blow amounts to around 48% of the total spending over which the Council has control.

UNISON regional secretary for the West Midlands, Ravi Subramanian, said: “This budget situation is very worrying and it is a mess jointly created by the previous Tory Lib-Dem council and the current Tory Lib-Dem Government.

“UNISON will be asking the Labour Council to campaign jointly with us to approach [Communities Secretary] Eric Pickles and ask for a Fair Deal for Birmingham.”

“Losses of up to as many as 1000 full-time jobs have been mentioned which will not only be devastating for those individuals and their families but also for the services the community rely on.”

Unions also say they are concerned about the impact of the cuts on the wider economy of the city and the entire region.

Senior GMB organiser, Amanda Gearing, said: “Cuts of this magnitude are shocking.

“They show the sheer madness of the Tory-Liberal spending cuts when the economy is in the sixth year of recession, net income per head down 13% since 2008 and mass unemployment.

“To destroy another 1,000 jobs on top of the 1,100 that have already gone is a disgrace.

“Vulnerable citizens in Birmingham cannot live with these cuts, which even the leader says will lead to front line services being ended.

“GMB officers and shop stewards will consult our members and we will meet with council officers and elected councillors to assess the full scale of what this means to our members and to the services they provide to people in this city”.

Officials warn that number of full-time workers employed by Birmingham City could fall from 19,000 to less than 15,000 and that it may have to ‘decommission’ a number of local authority public services in the city altogether.

Sir Albert Bore has described the financial cuts as ‘the end of local government as we know it’.


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