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Job losses creep towards 140,000 prediction

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Nearly 100,000 council jobs have gone in the first six months of this year, according to the most recent figures.

The data suggests their estimate of 140,000 job losses this year may not be as far off the mark as communities secretary Eric Pickles once suggested.

In November last year, LGA chairman Baroness Margaret Eaton (Con) warned the front-loaded funding cuts would result in 140,000 job losses in the year to follow. This prompted Mr Pickles to accuse the association of shoddy research, claiming he had “seen better appointed figures put together on the back of a fag packet”.

However, the latest data for the second quarter of 2011 collected from local authorities in England and Wales shows 98,300 people have left council employment in the first half of the year taking the total number of employees down to 2.1 million.

The figures mean local authority employment has dropped by 5.3% since the second quarter of 2010 and the 3.2% reduction since the previous quarter is the biggest drop in a single quarter since last year’s election.

The council-specific data collected by the Office for National Statistics and published by the Local Government Association comes two weeks after figures for the second quarter showed public sector employment as a whole had fallen by 3.8% in the previous year

Their local government count, which includes police, education staff and a range of other employers as well as councils, showed a 5% drop - compared to a 2.3% drop in central government.

Within that, police employment fell by 4.8% while education staff numbers fell by 3.3%.

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