Three Tory councils have announced plans to merge all their service to save up to £100m a year.
Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea, and Westminster in London had already been discussing merging their education services but now plan to extend this into social care and other areas.
There would be “significant reductions in staff” across the three councils, Stephen Greenhalgh, leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council, told Radio 4’s Today programme, though he said this would be necessary anyway because of the government’s spending cuts.
He emphasised the plans were intended to improve services and drive efficiency by cutting bureaucracy.
“In adult social care, you often find that of the three pounds we spend, you spend one pound deciding how to spend the other two,” he said. “We want to get rid of those overheads.”
However, he said he could not guarantee the future of every frontline job.
Each council will retain its own democratic structures and Greenhalgh said that they would be able to have different levels of service to meet local circumstances.
“We will retain our political sovereignty,” he told Today.
However, the plans were slammed by Westminster’s Labour group.
“This is the biggest attack on local services ever contemplated and is a part of a plan by ideologically-driven Conservatives to cut services regardless of the personal cost to those who depend on public services – children, the vulnerable, the elderly and those on low incomes,” said Labour group leader Paul Dimoldenberg.
“At a stroke, local services in each borough that have taken years to build up will be slashed and destroyed for all time.”
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