Recession bites as UK council slashes 650 jobs

One of the UK's biggest local authorities has announced it will cut hundreds of jobs, blaming  "lower government grants and a drop in its income".

Leeds City Council in the north of England said about 650 people would go over the next year but said it was planning to create 200 new posts, giving a net loss of about 450.

"The proposed reduction equates to a small proportion of the entire 33,000 council workforce," a council spokesman said.

The spokesman said the council did not expect there would be any compulsory job losses and none of the posts affected would be school-based staff.

British Unions are bracing themselves for tens of thousands of public sector job losses as the recession deepens.

The Local Government Association released figures last month suggesting that one in seven councils would cut jobs, but it has been forced to revise that position.

"It is regrettable that we've had to consider our options around the size of our workforce, but the council is in an almost impossible position," Leeds city council's joint leader, Richard Brett said.

"We have done everything we can to protect our frontline services and to minimise the impact of the losses on existing staff."

The council said the proposed reduction was a small proportion of its 33,000 workforce.

"Frontline services, such as care of vulnerable adults and children and refuse collection, will not be affected," a council spokesman said.

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