September 28th, 2016

Warning of more council job cuts and services to be axed

Updated: 4:46 pm, May 07, 2015

COUNCIL workers should be braced for more job losses and services axed.

In a letter to all staff council leader Ann Lucas warned money was so tight the council might not even be able to remain a last resort for vulnerable people – a goal it has aimed for throughout austerity.

Hundreds of jobs have been cut and millions axed from public spending over the past four years.

One former city MP attacked the admission and its post-local elections timing, and said bosses should be campaigning against cuts rather than implementing them.

In her letter, seen by the Observer, Coun Lucas thanked staff for their hard work over a tough year during which the council had dealt with both the tragic death of Daniel Pelka and the Ricoh stadium saga with dignity.

But she admitted: “I have talked in the past about us becoming a place of last resort for people who need it, I think we may be beyond even that now.

“Our biggest single bill is our payroll bill. If we are delivering fewer services we need fewer employees.

“By introducing more efficient and flexible ways of working we can deliver better value for our residents with less bureaucracy and red tape, and fewer employees.”

But Dave Nellist, a former Labour MP and Socialist city councillor, said the scale of the crisis had been obvious for some time.

“Why wait till two weeks after the election to be ‘absolutely honest’ – surely the honest position would have been to explain these things to staff and the wider electorate before May 22 so they knew what voting Labour would lead to?

“If standing up for and protecting our most vulnerable is really important to Labour the conversation they need to have with the people of Coventry is how to campaign together to stop the cuts, not how to implement them.”

But Coun Lucas told us she had been honest in warnings around the council’s budget, which will have been cut in half by 2016.

She said: “Indeed, some opponents would have probably set an illegal budget, refusing to accept the alternative. The alternative is national government ensuring a legal budget by indiscriminately cutting services without any understanding of local need.

“Opposition is easy, just say no to everything. Being in control is having the courage to protect as best as possible the people of Coventry from an uncaring Tory-led government hell bent on destroying local government.”

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