Devon council posts have been cut by 4,000

More than 4,000 jobs have been lost at councils across Devon during the last two years, it has been revealed.

In March 2009, about 18,500 people worked for the local authorities. There are currently just over 14,000 employed.

Devon, Plymouth, Torridge, Torbay, Exeter, West Devon, South Hams, North Devon, Teignbridge, East and Mid Devon councils have cut posts.

Many authorities said government funding cuts were to blame.

Devon County Council saw the biggest reduction in posts, from 9,027 on 31 March 2009 to 6,600 on the 30 September 2011.

At Plymouth City Council more than 1,000 posts have gone since March 2009. The authority currently has 3,231 posts, it said.

The figures exclude school staff, the authorities added.

'Slip through the net'

Karen Williams, from Unison in the South West, said: "The cuts are so deep, that we're likely to see people who need specific services from the council have to wait longer to receive them, and vulnerable people who need a greater amount of care are no longer able to get it."

Ms Williams added that she was concerned the cuts could mean vulnerable people would "slip through the net".

Ian Bowyer, from the city council, said the loss of posts was having "very little" effect on services.

"We are trying to prioritise our spending... we're trying to work smarter by reducing the cost of our workforce and we're working more efficiently," he added.

'Pointless non-jobs'

A spokesperson from Devon County Council said, the majority of job losses since 2008 were not because of redundancies, but were because people were not replaced when they left positions, unless they were doing a critical job.

He added that the authority was working hard to protect frontline services because of a cut in the amount of money it received from central government.

Devon County Council faces cuts of government funding of 28% between 2010 and 2014, and in 2011 the authority has had to make savings of £54.6m.

Nationally, councils are to be given an extra £200m from the government to help authorities restructure.

The government said councils would need to save money by ending "pointless non-jobs" and reducing the salary of their chief executives.

Ms Williams added: "I think all the people employed by local government are doing vital work in one form or another."

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