Leeds City Council 'faces crippling job losses'

Public sector trades unionists in Leeds delivered a cracker of a message for the Government on a visit to Leeds Civic Hall – "stop pulling public services apart!".

Posing with a giant Christmas cracker and wearing masks in the image of David Cameron and Nick Clegg, they highlighted the jobs and public services at risk from the spending cuts announced by the Government this week.

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They carried placards saying "No Joke! 310,776,757 books borrowed, 649,923,300 school dinners, 1,550 hospitals cleaned, 711,805 adults helped at home, 345,011 children get extra help, 634,353 children protected, 977,600,000 bins emptied."

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Chris Jenkins, full-time official of the public services union Unison, said: "This week we had the announcement of the Revenue Support Grant to local authorities - huge cuts across the region, particularly the major cities.

"These cuts will have a devastating effect on services and the most vulnerable people who rely on them. There will be significant job losses.

"The unfairness is clear with Northern induistrial towns being targeted. The Royal Borough of Windsor, where there is no doubt very little deprivation, faces no cuts, yet the most deprived areas of the country suffer huge cuts. Wealthy areas feel no effect. This is nothing more than the Tory Government looking after its heartland at the expense of local autrhorities in the North.

"It is our cities and the services that our people rely on that will suffer most."

Across Yorkshire local authorities are warning of thousands of job losses. Earlier this year an independent survey estimated that more than 8,000 public sector jobs were likely to be lost in Leeds alone.

A meeting which was called to organise a Leeds Anti-Cuts group at Leeds Civic Hall attracted 180 people from trades unions, community groups, tenants' organisations and the voluntary sector.

Similar groups are being formed in towns and cities across the Yorkshire region and other parts of the country. Local and national protest demonstrations are being organised in January.

Andy Thorburn of EMIS

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