Wolverhampton City Council says up to 2,000 jobs will go

Wolverhampton city centre Wolverhampton City Council said most jobs would go in the next two years

Related Stories

Up to 2,000 jobs are to be axed by a council because cuts are "worse than previously thought".

Wolverhampton City Council has increased the figure from 1,400 jobs because it says it needs to make £123m savings over the next five years.

The Labour-run council is also raising council tax by 2% but said it had no choice but to shed staff.

The Conservative group said the council's financial problems had stemmed from overspending.

'Targeting poorer areas'

Karen Leonard of the GMB said: "Today's announcement of a jobs cull in Wolverhampton is a devastating blow to GMB members, who now face an uncertain future. Jobs and working hours are under threat.

Employment in Wolverhampton

  • Unemployment is more than twice the national average and 10% of parents are single parents
  • The council says it employs more than 12,000 people
  • According to the Office for National Statistics, in 2012, 27.4% of Wolverhampton's working population was employed by the public sector. The UK figure is 18.8%
  • In 2010 Wolverhampton moved from being the 28th most deprived to the 20th most deprived local authority area, said the government

"Those who survive the jobs cull can expect a pay freeze, equating to a real terms pay cut, and an ever increasing workload."

The authority said it had originally drawn up plans to save £98m by 2019 but it had now calculated the figure would be £123m.

It had previously said it was at risk of "becoming insolvent".

Council leader Roger Lawrence said: "We know we are going to lose employees across the council. These are not going to be easy decisions and it's going to have an impact on every area of service because there is no area that can be protected."

Andrew Johnson, cabinet member for resources, said: "We have lost a huge proportion of the main source of our income, which is the grant from the government. That's why we have to make these job cuts."

He said the jobs would be lost over the next five years although most would go in the next two years.

He added: "The job cuts will be across the council except in some essential services such as children's social work. We are offering voluntary redundancy."

Gloria Vincent Council worker Gloria Vincent said employees were "absolutely shocked" by the cuts
Nick Nick, another council worker, said morale in his department was "pretty low"

He said he felt the government cuts were "targeting poorer areas of the country".

"Wolverhampton is the 20th most deprived area in England," Mr Johnson said. "We have been targeted more than the wealthy areas.

"But we have a duty to the people of Wolverhampton to set a balanced budget and we are determined to do that."

'Why Wolverhampton?'

The mood in the city

Many workers were going in and out of The Civic Centre in Wolverhampton as meetings between the council and its workforce took place during the day.

A number did not want to speak about the announcement.

But one worker, in his 20s, told me he had been expecting the announcement.

"You'd have to be living with your head in the sand if you didn't expect something like this," he said.

He said he did not blame those at the top of the council and felt they had been forced to make "difficult decisions".

Another man told me he and his colleagues "have worked very hard for years under tough circumstances".

Council employees in the city told the BBC they did not understand the decision.

Administrative assistant Gloria Vincent, 59, has worked at the council for 15 years.

"We feel absolutely shocked because we are losing our jobs, our livelihood," she said.

"The people [on the] lower scale, they're treated the worst really because our jobs are in jeopardy more than the other jobs in the council."

She said flexi-time would no longer be available for the employees and working hours would be reduced.

Care home worker Nick, 24, who did not want to give his surname, has worked at the council for four years.

He said his department was working "on such a thin line there is nothing left to cut".

"This is now basically saying 'I'm sorry but we don't care anymore, we don't care about these people that you're looking after'," he said.

"The morale where I work at the moment is pretty low; they've cut my weekend enhancements, they've cut my overtime."

Unison representatives Unison representatives gave information leaflets to workers outside the Civic Hall

Another worker, who did not want to be identified, said the decision "seems strange".

"The cuts that have come through [from the government] have got to come down to local government, but why Wolverhampton? Who knows?" he asked.

The man said he felt the council would be unprepared in the future to deal with "abnormal" events such as the recent flooding.

"Local authorities may or may not be able to cope with what comes through, because there's nobody in the buildings to be able to deal with these things," he said.

'Where has the money gone?'

Wendy Thompson, shadow member for resources, said the Conservative opposition had not been aware 2,000 staff were going.

"We heard it from the local newspaper before we heard it from the council and we were shocked," she said.

"We are sick to death of hearing the council blame the government. All the other councils have the same government but they are not in the same panic Wolverhampton appears to be in.

"If they had listened to us over the past few years, they would have realised they needed to be more careful about their spending.

"If you stood in the middle of the city centre, you would have to ask yourself, 'How could they be in all this debt? Where has the money gone?'"

More on This Story

Related Stories

From other news sites

* May require registration or subscription

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Birmingham & Black Country

Weather

Birmingham

Min. Night 8 °C

BBC Local Live

  1.  
    'Warnings' over inmate's condition 16:08:

    Lawyers for the family of a man who hanged himself in prison say he was not monitored closely enough, despite several warnings.

    Mohammed Naveed Zaber

    Mohammed Naveed Zaber's (pictured) family said he had harmed himself with shards from a broken TV and had drunk washing-up liquid in the run-up to his death.

    They further alleged the 26-year-old had previously been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and had sought medical help, but had not received it.

     
  2.  
    News on the hour 15:55: Alice Rosenthal Journalist, BBC WM

    Firefighters in England are to strike for four days from 31 October in row over pensions, their union says.

    Hear more on this story in the news at 16:00 on BBC WM.

     
  3.  
    Man jailed for Broad Street death 15:52: Birmingham Updates

    A man has been sentenced to five years' imprisonment after causing the death of student on Broad Street last December.

     
  4.  
    Weekend forecast 15:40: Rebecca Wood BBC Weather

    After a drizzly start this morning things have brightened up a little in some areas this afternoon. Clear spells overnight mean it will be a little cooler than it has been lately.

    Weekend weather round-up

    But a dry and bright start is forecast for Saturday, although a keen breeze will freshen things up. There'll be a little more cloud about on Sunday.

     
  5.  
    Prison team failed to monitor inmate 15:33: Tom Richardson BBC News Online

    An inquest has found a prison's mental health team failed to properly monitor an inmate with "serious" mental illnesses who hanged himself.

    Mohammed Naveed Zaber, from Birmingham, displayed various warning signs in the run-up to his death on 25 March last year, including smashing a TV and using it to harm himself, his family's solicitor said.

    HMP Stoke Heath prisoner Mr Zaber had a history of mental health problems, but the inquest jury found the In-Reach team, which deals with vulnerable prisoners, failed to access his full medical history.

     
  6.  
    Historic former pub fails to sell 15:24: Birmingham Post

    A historic Birmingham pub which has lain empty and derelict for seven years has failed to sell at auction.

     
  7.  
    M6 accident 15:09:

    The M6 is blocked northbound between J6 A38(M) Aston Expressway and J7, A34 (Great Barr) because of an accident, BBC Travel reports.

     
  8.  
    News on the hour 14:58: Alice Rosenthal Journalist, BBC WM

    A retired priest has been cleared of indecently assaulting a young girl.

    Father Edward Simpson of Olton Friary, Solihul was acquitted of indecently touching the girl during the mid-1980s.

    Hear more on the BBC WM news bulletin shortly.

     
  9.  
    Walsall have fully fit squad 14:48:

    BBC WM Sport tweets: #Walsall manager Dean Smith says he has a fully-fit squad for tomorrow's home game against Chesterfield. @bbcwm@WFCOfficial

     
  10.  
    Autumn ramble in the hills 14:41:

    The National Trust is running an autumn colour ramble around the Clent Hills on Sunday, says BBC Things To Do.

    The six-mile walk starts at 10:00 and is expected to finish at about 15:00.

     
  11.  
    Chip shop 'fly infestation' 14:18: Chris Blakemore News editor, BBC WM

    A Walsall takeaway's been closed after environmental health officers found swarms of flies, filthy conditions and evidence of rats.

    Chipmasters in Walsall

    Chipmasters, in Lower Hall Lane, has been given a hygiene emergency prohibition notice.

    It's the fourth business in Walsall to be closed in a fortnight because of environmental health issues.

     
  12.  
    Leeds v Birmingham 14:05: Richard Wilford BBC WM Sport

    Kenny Jackett and Wolves moved up into the top four of the Championship with their fine midweek win over in-form Middlesbrough - now they hit the road to Leeds looking for a first away win in five matches.

    Championship league table on 24 October 2014

    Jackett has shored the defence up since surrendering a 3-0 lead at Millwall last week, Tuesday's clean sheet was very welcome.

    You can hear the whole match live from Elland Road on BBC WM 95.6FM from 15:00 tomorrow.

     
  13.  
    News on the hour 13:55: BBC WM

    In the 14:00 news bulletin: As a report says violence in British jails is out of control, the justice secretary has told BBC WM there'll always be a culture of violence inside our prisons.

     
  14.  
    Multi-storey car park plan 13:40: Royal Sutton Coldfield Observer

    Plans to build a multi-storey car park at Good Hope Hospital have been announced as concerns by members of the public were raised at a meeting to discuss proposed hospital changes.

     
  15.  
    More on ambulance crash 13:23:

    BBC News Online has more on the three people taken to hospital after an ambulance on an emergency call was in a crash with a car in Birmingham.

     
  16.  
    Wrong name on VC hero sign 13:08: Black Country Bugle

    A mix-up over a West Bromwich road sign in honour of the town's only Victoria Cross winner left the council addressing a difficult problem with the residents.

     
  17.  
    News on the hour 12:56: BBC WM

    In the 13:00 news bulletin: Three people have been taken to hospital after they were involved in a crash between a car and ambulance in Birmingham this morning.

     
  18.  
    'Welcome to city' stickers put up 12:46: Express and Star

    Road signs directing traffic towards Wolverhampton TOWN centre have finally been updated 14 years after it became a city - with a set of cheap cut-out stickers.

     
  19.  
    Coming up on TV 12:35: Amy Cole Reporter, Midlands Today

    At lunchtime, we're looking at how almost 100 former MG Rover workers are finally getting a pension payout, almost 10 years after the company crashed.

    Longbridge protest in Birmingham city centre in the 1990s

    About £8m is being set aside for the workers after a deal was struck between the Pensions Regulator and the former Longbridge firm MGR Capital Ltd.

    We'll have more from our business correspondent Peter Plisner at Longbridge at 13:30 on BBC One.

     
  20.  
    Shark moved to Birmingham 12:25:

    A shark has been transported more than 120 miles across England in a bid to encourage him to breed.

    Male nurse shark Albi and female nurse shark Florence Nightingale

    Albi, a two metre-long (6ft) nurse shark, was taken from the National Sea Life Centre Blackpool to the attraction's sister site in Birmingham.

     
  21.  
    Landmark to get £1.3m makeover 12:10: Dudley News

    A Dudley landmark is to get a £1.3m makeover which will include the refurbishment of a famous fountain's waterworks.

     
  22.  
    News on the hour 11:57: Kevin Pashby Newsreader BBC WM

    A street in the Black Country is getting a new road sign - thanks to a campaign started on BBC WM

    Edwin Phillips Drive

    It's all to do with commemorating a soldier from West Bromwich who won the Victoria Cross, the highest military honour.

    Hear more on this story in the news at 12:00 on BBC WM.

     
  23.  
    Student accommodation set for go-ahead 11:37: Birmingham Post

    Proposals for even more student accommodation in Selly Oak look set to be given the green light by city planners next week.

     
  24.  
    Passengers cut free from car 11:22:

    Ward End Fire tweets a photo of a car being cut open to remove two passengers, following the crash with an ambulance earlier this morning.

    Fire crew at crash in Yardley
     
  25.  
    Car and ambulance crash 11:05:

    Three people have been taken to hospital after a crash involving an ambulance and a car in Yardley this morning.

    West Midlands Ambulance Service says the two passengers in the car had to be cut free before being taken to hospital. One crew member was treated at the scene for a shoulder injury.

    The collision happened in Station Road at about 08:20 while the ambulance had its sirens on responding to an emergency call.

     
  26.  
    News on the hour 10:56: BBC WM

    In the 11:00 news bulletin: As a report says violence in British jails is out of control, the justice secretary has told BBC WM there'll always be a culture of violence inside our prisons.

     
  27.  
    Other workers 'still waiting for payout' 10:34: BBC WM

    Ninety five former Rover workers are getting their pension payout, almost a decade after the car maker collapsed.

    £8m is being set aside for the senior workers. Richard Burden, Labour MP for Northfield, says while it's good news for some, other ex-employees are still waiting for money from former owners the Pheonix Four.

     
  28.  
    Sex assault picture appeal 10:16:

    Police have released photos of a man they want to speak after a woman was sexually assaulted in Birmingham.

    CCTV stills

    The 28-year-old victim was followed along Soho Road in Handsworth and attacked after heading on to Alfred Road shortly after midnight on 19 September.

     
  29.  
    Manhunt after heroin seized 10:05: Birmingham Mail
  30.  
    News on the hour 09:55: BBC WM

    In the 10:00 news bulletin: The justice secretary has told BBC WM there will always be culture of violence in prisons.

     
  31.  
    Disabled graduates: Life after university 09:40: Damon Rose BBC News, Ouch

    This week BBC Ouch is revisiting disabled students who we followed in the last decade. Several years later, how are they doing?

    Sara Krishnan and her son

    They include Sara Krishan (pictured), aged 29, who lives in Birmingham.

     
  32.  
    Have your say 09:28: Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    We've introduced BBC Local Live to bring you news, sport, travel and weather updates in one place. We'd like to know what you think.

     
  33.  
    West Brom linked with winger 09:17:

    Today's BBC Sport football gossip column features speculation West Bromwich Albion are interested in Bournemouth winger Matt Ritchie.

     
  34.  
    Prisons 'will always have violent culture' 09:05: BBC WM

    Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has told BBC WM there will always be culture of violence in prisons.

    Pete Morgan interviewing Justice Secretary Chris Grayling

    It comes as a report says violence in British jails is out of control and they are unsafe, ineffective institutions.

     
  35.  
    News on the hour 08:55: Kevin Pashby Newsreader BBC WM

    A report has named Birmingham Prison as the most overcrowded in the region. I'll have more on this in my 09:00 bulletin.

     
  36.  
    Chief exec pay criticism 08:41: BBC WM

    Dudley Council has defended plans to pay its new chief executive £8,000 a year more than her predecessor.

    The move, which coincides with the authority having to make £117m worth of budget cuts, has been criticised by the Taxpayers' Alliance.

     
  37.  
    TOP HEADLINES
     
  38.  
    MG Rover staff get payout 08:31:

    An £8m pension settlement has been reached with some former MG Rover staff, almost a decade after the car firm collapsed.

    Factory floor

    About 6,000 workers lost their jobs when the Birmingham-based company entered administration in 2005, but the Pension Regulator said a deal had now been reached with 95 former staff, mainly managers.

     
  39.  
    Weather outlook 08:21:

    It will be cloudy with heavy rain this morning, but brighter conditions are expected later with highs of 14C (57F). Get your local forecast.

     
  40.  
    Delays after accident 08:10:

    A lane is closed on the M6 northbound between J10 and J10a following an accident, reports our travel news team.

     
  41.  
    Welcome 08:00:

    Good morning everyone and welcome to Friday's news, sport, travel and weather updates for Birmingham and the Black Country.

     

Features

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • FutureThe future is now

    Get the latest updates and biggest ideas from BBC Future’s World-Changing Ideas Summit

Programmes

  • The smartphone that answers backClick Watch

    Smartphones get smarter – the prototypes that talk and say ouch when you drop them

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.