Coventry council jobs 'could go in next budget'

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Another 800 jobs may be lost at Coventry City Council if fears about government cuts are realised, its deputy leader has said.

Councillor George Duggins said it would be hard to avoid hitting front-line services if the jobs were lost.

He made the announcement ahead of the Labour-run council publishing its budget in early December.

The council's Conservative group said there were no facts behind the forecast.

Mr Duggins said it was difficult to make predictions until the government gave the council its grant figures.

Coventry City Council's Labour leaders have Birmingham counterparts' lead three weeks ago, that they'll have to make deeper cuts than originally thought if they're to balance the books next year.

Now, as then, the government's funding cuts get the blame, with predictions that local government will be changed forever as councillors are moved from slicing services to chopping them altogether.

There's more than a hint of politics in this of course as negotiations between local and central government intensify in the run-up to next year's grants settlement, with ministers replying that councils must work smarter and more efficiently.

That's the other thing about politics: the apportionment of blame.

He said finance officers estimated the gap needed to be met to balance the books had risen from £14m to £28m.

The 800 jobs would be on top of 800 already lost over the past two years, he said.

"It's clear that the scale and extent of government spending cuts to the public sector which was already unprecedented will need to be even bigger," he said.

"It's very difficult for us to make detailed predictions at the moment, as the government won't give us any figures until just before Christmas."

Kevin Foster, leader of the council's Conservative group, said if "you tried to look into the council's projections, everything got a bit hazy".

"Many people will be worried about their future," he said.

"There will be some difficult decisions to be taking but this is just game playing."

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