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COUNCILS WARN OF STAFF SHORTAGES

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The Local Government Association has warned the government of the 'increasing disparity' between public and private...
The Local Government Association has warned the government of the 'increasing disparity' between public and private sector earnings in a late bid for funds from the comprehensive spending review, reports The Times Educational Supplement (p13).

This was backed up by figures from the Local Government Management Board, which reports that 16% of local education authorities in England and Wales 'had difficulties' in recruiting teachers.

This compares with 38% of authorites responsible for social services which had difficulties with social worker recruitment and 13% of councils finding it hard to acquire home helps.

Jim Chrystie of the LGMB said: 'If we look back over the past two decades some 10,000 people a year have been leaving local government employ, but in the last couple of years it has been 20,000.'

Neil Kinghan, the LGA finance director, said extra funding was necessary for pay. Figures show private sector earnings increasing by 5.6% as opposed to 2.6% in the public sector.

Promises by the education secretary, David Blunkett, that money was being earmarked for schools were welcome, Mr Kinghan said, 'but other local services are under pressure and these pressures have got to be recognised.'

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