Concerns have been raised over the future of the adult social care system after it was revealed that councils in England and Wales sliced £1.4 billion from their annual pay bill in 2011-12, largely by reducing staff numbers.
The majority of job cuts have so far been achieved through voluntary redundancy and not replacing workers after they retire or move on, according to the Local Government Association’s (LGA) annual earnings survey.
Savings were also achieved through national pay restraint and the introduction of more efficient work practices, such as reducing hours and minimising overtime.
But the LGA has warned of a higher proportion of compulsory redundancies this year as councils struggle to make further cuts.
“It will be impossible to deliver the same savings again without another big reduction in the workforce,” said Steve Bullock, chairman of the LGA’s workforce board.
“With the adult social care system dangerously overstretched […] similar cuts in the next funding period will have a big negative impact on the services councils can provide to residents.”
Around 214,000 local government jobs have been cut since December 2010, according to the Office of National Statistics’ quarterly public sector employment survey.
The total gross pay bill for councils in England and Wales was £24.9 billion in 2011-12, down from £26.3 billion the year before, the LGA’s research found.
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