Devastated: Full extent of Wolverhampton City Council cuts realised

The shocking extent of Wolverhampton’s council crisis was being realised today – as more devastating cuts in public services were revealed.

Wolverhampton City Council today where 2,000 people are to lose their jobs
Wolverhampton City Council where 2,000 people are to lose their jobs

Two thousand jobs – one third of the workforce – will be axed, council tax bills will rise and hours will be cut as Wolverhampton City Council attempts to ensure its future by saving £123million.

It is now claimed that vital services for elderly people, children and people with learning disabilities could be privatised in a desperate bid to save even more cash.

Around 500 council staff will move into the private sector under the proposals, union bosses allege.

Council chiefs have defiantly refused to resign, with opposition Tory councillors renewing calls for heads to roll.

And the former Archbishop of Canterbury – Dr Rowan Williams – has had his say on the overwhelming job cuts, saying his ‘heart went out’ to those who would lose their jobs.

Union chiefs discussed the council’s savings proposals at a meeting in the city last night, saying they were devastated and labelling the 2,000 job losses as ‘shocking’.

Members said people were being forced into poverty and could not rule out industrial action being taken.

Yesterday’s crippling cuts – announced by chief executive Simon Warren who summoned staff to the Civic Hall – were far deeper than originally proposed.

Just months ago council bosses said 1,000 jobs would go and £89m would have to be saved by 2019.

UNISON 6 SL 18
Members leaving a Unison meeting at the Britannia Hotel, Wolverhampton, over claims that services will be out-sourced

The figure then shot up to £123m with the warning that 1,400 jobs would be axed as the council discovered the full extent of cuts in its central government grants.

The job losses today stand at a predicted 2,000.

Last month chiefs issued a stark warning that without further cuts the authority would go insolvent in a year and would not even be able to empty the bins or care for the elderly.

Now they have announced plans to install cameras to enforce bus lanes, with fines being used to boost council coffers, while businesses will be forced to pay if they want graffiti removed. A reduction in the budget for outdoor events could see much-loved events like Wolvestock placed under threat, while the city’s Grand Theatre budget has been cut.

Major events threatened as Wolverhampton City Council makes major cuts

See also: Wolverhampton City Council staff devastated as cuts laid bare

 

The number of councillors may also decrease, while staff have been told that annual pay rises are to be frozen.

Their full-time contracts will be reduced from 37 hours a week to 35 and there will be no sick pay for staff for their first day off.

And people who drive their own cars on council business also face seeing their allowances cut from 45p to 25p a mile.

ROWAN 9 SL 18
Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has expressed sympathy to staff

Council tax will also rise by just under two per cent – the first increase since 2009.

Leader Roger Lawrence - who along with finance chief Andrew Johnson and chief executive Mr Warren has been placed under serious pressure to resign by Tory councillors - said he did not want to bring in the changes but that there was no other choice.

And he rejected calls to resign.

See also: 2,000 jobs now face Wolverhampton City Council axe

At a glance: new cuts are revealed

 

Councillor Lawrence said: “I’m not entirely sure which part of the £147m that we have had taken away from us could be considered the fault of the chief executive.

“The Conservatives have signed petitions against the cuts we are having to make.

“But they haven’t sent a single letter to the Government asking for a change to the cuts.

“They should be sticking up for Wolverhampton.”

The council says it has been forced to make sweeping cuts as it has lost £147 million worth of central government funding.

Plans have also been confirmed to increase the price of school meals by 8p, although schools will decide whether or not to pass that cost on to parents.

The council recommends they charge £2.10 in most schools or £2 in nurseries. And neighbourhood wardens patrolling the streets will be reduced from 30 to 18. Libraries will also have their opening hours dramatically reduced.

Comments for: "Devastated: Full extent of Wolverhampton City Council cuts realised"

middley

I am still (and probably will) waiting to hear, Cutting the number of councillor's per ward and their salary (if they have one) if not their expenses, then the amount of "special events" which the Mayor has throughout their tenure, i.e free booze up's and meals, ( I have been to one and seen the realism ) stop the vast expense of the mayor's car and the chauffer ( lets see if he is on the hit list ) and the mayor's partner being de throned as a consort with all the cost that brings. These are real cuts, not people with real jobs who provide a service to the community !

The Voice of Reason

That's what you get for voting Labour - debt.

Thehoffsleftsock

I am genuinely gutted for the grafters and everyday workers who will lose there jobs, we all know for years that certain people in the council have been milking the cash cow for everything, business class trips abroad to see how they do things over there etc with unlimited expenses on the credit card, pathetic, while im sure there would still be cuts, im sure alot could have been saved with the right team in charge, alot of the greedy top brass should hang there heads in shame. But they will be the ones to decide who loses there jobs, id stick a tenner on them staying unless they can work a big fat redundancy cheque for themselves. DISGUSTING

Putza Shiftin

Has Wolverhampton been disadvantaged disproportionally by the central government funding reduction? If so what did the council do about it?

If not, then why is this council in such a mess?

In any event, the Council should have seen this coming and all Councillors are accountable if they haven't done anything about it. The Chief Executive and Chief Finance Officer are without doubt responsible as they are accountable for the strategies and plans which are presented to the politicians.

Any Chief Finance Officer worth his salary would have foreseen this coming and proposed prudent budgets.

The government should place the council under special measures now as the public cannot possibly have any confidence in the Cabinet or the opposition and certainly not in the Senior Executives.

beefbeefbeef

I agree. I do not believe for a moment that the govt would just single out Wolverh CC for this treatment. No, to get into this scale of mess must mean that council leaders have managed things very badly indeed.

Sar2them

In fairness the current chief finance officer only came into post last year after the previous one got promoted!!

Old59

Whilst I have less than zero sympathy for Lawrence and his cronies who have done the square root of sweet FA to bring jobs and prosperity back to the City and have very evidently sat on their well fed and chaffeur driven backsides waiting for a miracle, this is central Government at it's most vicious - a town already eating out of its dustbins has the number of dustbins cut in half . . . . .

London just reaches out like Ming the Merciless to strike at vulnerable communities, not support those in most need; the problems of the floods are evidence enough that this government is only interested in London, and these eye watering cuts are almost feudal in their atrocity. Incompetent Labour, pocket lining Tories, weak as p*** Lib Dems - doesn't leave much of a choice

Danimal

Mr Lawrence et al.

Leave.

You have done enough damage by bringing this town systematically to its knees.

Just leave. NOW.

Wulfrunian

Heads should roll over this. Whoever is to blame for this crisis has badly let down the Citizens of Wolverhampton. Out of Darkness cometh even more gloom !

timeforchange

My sympathies with the staff. Cuts and cuts are happening all over especially in the urban areas. As a bad a situation is being faced here in the north. Vital public services are being ripped apart. OK some streamling of services may be needed, but the scale of the cuts will only destroy what many of us believe are essential to a decent society. The Councillors are in an impossible position. Blame the Coalition Government!

Pebble

Yes because the coalition spent 16 years on a massive public sector spending and staffing overdose... oh no hang on that was the unions/Labour. Chickens, roost, home.

antony j

do what i did..... move to Canada

antony j

and do it soon eh?

Sar2them

Theres no "allege" about it. Staff have already been briefed that it is proposed that learning disability services are privatised and staff TUPE'd over - with possibly only 6 months protection. Seems its a done deal to me..

Philf

I seem to think that we had a lib/con council until last year and they appointed the CEO. Fact is the government has cut back the money that Wolverhampton gets in grants.

NHSAnalyst

Inland Revenue Guidelines state car mileage for 1st 10,000 miles is 45p per mile +5 per mile if you carry a passenger, 25p per mile there after with an extra 5p per mile if you carry a passenger.

Several NHS trusts have already been fined by HMRC for pulling that stunt in terms of reducing mileage costs. Leicestershire HIS were fined in excess of £50,000 when staff grouped together and reported them to HMRC. HMRC have a very good and stringent process whereby you can report your employer for not abiding by the expenses rules. Rules are rules.

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/mileage/

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/rates/travel.htm

Putza Shiftin

The HMRC 'rules' are only guidelines. I'm in the military and they only pay 25p per mile. I then claim the difference from HMRC at the end of each year, which is what council staff will have to do when this is introduced. It's not good for those on low income that's for sure!

charlie17

I am beginning to think this is a political ploy by the Council. They have announced 2000 redundancies but the maths do not add up. The savings to be made are just under £25 million a year, but the loss of 2000 people even if they are all on minimum wage of £7/hour for a 37 hour week is £259/ person/week plus 25% for Employers nat. insurance contributions and employer pension contributions adds a further £65/person/week. Total saving for each employee is about £16,850/year therefore annual saving of 2000 people is almost £34 million. This is a minimum because I am sure not everyone on the list is on minimum wage. If we then add the other savings in the total could be as high as £50million a year double what is necessary. The reduction in hours from 37/ week to 35/ week is 5%, are the salaried and council officers taking a 5% pay cut. Perhaps Mr Laurence or the Chief Financial Officer care to respond to this discrepancy. If I am right why has it not been picked up by the union.

beefbeefbeef

Good analysis. There is a lot of hype with this announcement but very little detail. I would like some facts. For example, I sincerely doubt whether this is all down to government cuts. The government is trying to enforce some "austerity" (although in fact govt spending is still going up) but on nothing like this scale nationwide. That must mean there are particular budgetary problems in Wolverhampton CC which needed to be addressed - how have these problems arisen? On a related matter, these things do not just happen overnight and so why hasn't Wolverhampton CC been adjusting its budget in the past few years? The management must be significantly at fault here.

Pebble

The council should only be meeting it's legal requirements. It's not nice that people are losing their jobs. But if it's possible to lose them then they should never have been employed in the first place. Never mind keeping them on during the biggest financial crash for decades. If it was legally possible to then these positions should have been dropped years ago.

Never mind "Should we keep paying for public events". No. Hell no. If it doesn't make a profit drop it. If they do make a profit it'll run without council interference anyway.

Sar2them

What twaddle - its only possible because they are privatising the services to cowboy companies and tupeing staff over thus relinquishing their responsibility for redundancy payments.

Take older person and ld services, yes they are getting rid of these services and staff but to the detriment of people who use those services and that are the most vulnerable of our residents

Washburn

This is a disaster for Wolverhampton, 2000 people who all put their hard earned cash back into society.

It makes no sense, yes the council may be saving money but what about the loss of 2000 wage packets to the wider community.

It is bad economics, the city needs folk to spend money, if that disappears what happens next, Wolverhampton becomes a ghost town.

Sack the ones at the top, they have proven they are incapable of doing their jobs, move over and maybe one of the 2000 may do a better job.

History has shown that the staff at the bottom of the pile have better ideas than those at the top, and I would be willing to bet that those at the top never listen.

soap box stan

Mis management, years of wasted, poimtless spending, overpaid underqualified management and disasterous decision making. The management should go, bring in professional management teams from the real business world who have made their own money from spending and investing wisely, not people who have been promoted from clerical or junior roles within the Council. Interesting also to see that the "cuts" needed included trying to fine people who drive in bus lanes. This just goes to prove that yet again what the Government and Councild tell us about road safetyis purely a lie and its just a money making operation. And we stand for it!!!!!