Council has lost a quarter of its staff in five years

Lord Peter Smith
Lord Peter Smith
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WIGAN Council has shed almost a quarter of its staff in five years as new figures show how austerity has heavily hit the regions.

The number of employees at the local authority has dropped from 5,752 in July 2010 to 4,449 this month, a reduction of 1,303 people or 22.65 per cent.

Wigan Council has had an unfair and disproportionate financial settlement from the government over the past five years and the indications are that the next five years are going to be equally as difficult for local government

Lord Smith

The figures released by Wigan Council were revealed as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed the North West has lost three times as many public sector jobs as London in the last five years.

Wigan Council leader Lord Peter Smith said the borough had experienced a tough few years with harsh cuts to local government budgets and more financial difficulty is set to follow.

However, he also praised the hard work of Wigan Council staff and said the ongoing structural changes at the town hall mean it will be in a strong position to deliver services despite the job losses going forward.

Lord Smith said: “Wigan Council has had an unfair and disproportionate financial settlement from the government over the past five years and the indications are that the next five years are going to be equally as difficult for local government.

“However, our remaining staff are highly motivated and hard-working and, thanks to our innovative and proactive approach through The Deal, Wigan Council is in a much better financial position than lots of other councils.

“The Deal has involved us transforming services and putting the people of Wigan borough at the centre of what we deliver.

“In some cases this has meant difficult decisions to reduce staff numbers but we have done this while managing to improve services and meet our budget obligations.

“Despite the on-going budget pressures in the coming years we will continue to deliver high quality public services.”

Lord Smith pointed to the council being short-listed in the Best Achieving Council category at the MJ Achievement Awards 2015 as evidence of its ongoing success in the face of staff cuts. Figures released by the ONS show public sector employment in the North West fell by 9.4 per cent between 2010 and 2015.