Labour councils cutting more jobs than Tory?


9:40 am - February 15th 2011

by Sunny Hundal    


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The Guardian today is running a story today with the headline: Labour councils shed 50% more jobs than Tory areas.

It goes on to say:

Figures appear to bolster coalition claims that Labour councils are making bigger cuts for politically motivated reasons

But immediately below that it states:

Labour councils are shedding on average 50% more posts than Conservative authorities as they deal with funding cuts that significantly outstrip those of their Tory and Liberal Democrat neighbours, the Guardian has found.

So, er, the real reason is that Labour councils budget cuts significantly outstrip that of Tory or Libdem councils.

How exactly does that bolster Conservative claims that Labour councils are making politically motivated decisions?

Just look at the figures. The article states Labour councils on average face 7% budget cuts, while Conservative councils face on average 5% budget cuts.

In percentage terms, that says Labour councils face 40% more budget cuts compared to Conservative councils.

Labour authorities have issued on average 745 job “at-risk” notifications, compared with 498 for Conservative councils. That’s a slightly more 49% notifications but still roughly proportional. Part of that reason will be that Labour manager fewer but much bigger councils in Metropolitan areas – so it’s not comparing like with like.

Furthermore, massive councils like Manchester are facing a 8.8% budget cut, which will inevitably put them on top of the list for job cuts.

In contrast, the article points out that Norfolk (Tory) is cutting 3,000 posts while only facing a 2% drop in spending power, and Nottinghamshire (Tory) is cutting 3,500 job cuts despite facing a relatively small 3% reduction in funding.

And yet the Guardian is running with the headline that its research bolsters Conservative claims. It’s a ludicrous claim.

Update: You can get a better understanding of actual cuts to council base budgets this LGC article (and see the spreadsheet at the bottom).

Update 2: This blogpost by Mark Easton at the BBC maps how poorer Labour councils are facing much bigger cuts than Tory ones. (via @Sarah_Hayward)

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


The Guardian threw their lot in with the Lib Dems in the last election and now, like the leader they fawned after, they’re happy to gently massage their Tory masters’ shoulders after a long day of cutting budgets and destroying lives.

This article was shameless and utterly disingenuous. Well done for exposing it Sunny.

You have put my thoughts into blog form Sunny, no idea why the Guardian has given it that slant.

Only rational explanation is that the reporter is a double agent working for the Mail.

The other issues you don’t mention (which I have not had time to investigate) is how do Labour and non-Labour councils compare in total budget and numbers of employees.

The figures quoted by the Guardian are in percentages for budget cuts and absolute numbers for job losses. I suspect that Labour councils are larger in budgetary terms and even more so in terms of employee numbers (because less is likely to be out-sourced). That would mean that you would expect even the same proportionate cut to lead to more redundancies in Labour councils.

4. Cynical/Realist?

I’m not sure how cutting more jobs is a logical politically motivated strategy anyway. I can see how at national level it would encourage the view the cuts are terrible for ordinary people.

But surely local council leaders main concern is winning re-election at the next council elections, not bolstering the national parties policies. Even if the absolute unequivical best policy would be shedding 1000s of jobs, local voters would still go nuts and vote them out. If they suspect local councils are doing it to further the national parties headline generators they’ll be slaughtered.

It is however a good ‘politically motivated’ idea to accuse Labour councils of doing this for the wrong reasons, to try and poison the people in those authorities against the councils and persaude them to vote Tory next time.

When Labour were in power, Labour areas got significant increases at the expense of other areas. Now they are no longer in power this process is being reversed which is hardly a shock.

Like 3, I’d love to see a table of funding per head by area, year on year, does anyone know where one is?

In response to points that you shouldn’t compare metropolitans with shires, different numbers of staff, budget cuts etc, Guardian has gone into more detail with the data here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/feb/15/council-jobs-cuts-list. No perceivable bias to this, just data with limited inference. Compares staff cuts to head population, number of staff, reduction in spending power etc.

@5 Falco

When Labour were in power, Labour areas got significant increases at the expense of other areas. Now they are no longer in power this process is being reversed which is hardly a shock.

I presume you’re implication is that for political gain, Labour increased funding to local councils it controlled?

On the other hand, given that Labour are much more likely to control councils in deprived areas is it not more accurate to say that Labour targeted money to the area of greatest need. Given that David Cameron has complained that Labour didn’t do enough about the gap between rich and poor in the UK, surely that’s a sensible way to finance local government?

AFZ

Falco @5:

Dats from DCLG is at http://thoughcowardsflinch.com/2011/01/31/formula-grant-for-dummies/ – click on link about half way down and follow instructions to download excel chart.

Doesn’t have populations though.

9. Chaise Guevara

@ 7 AFZ

“On the other hand, given that Labour are much more likely to control councils in deprived areas is it not more accurate to say that Labour targeted money to the area of greatest need.”

Good point, that.

Typical Tory lies


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Are Labour councils really cutting more jobs than Tory ones? http://bit.ly/e1OuNC

  2. Jane Phillips

    RT @libcon: Are Labour councils really cutting more jobs than Tory ones? http://bit.ly/e1OuNC

  3. Pod Wangler

    RT @libcon: Are Labour councils really cutting more jobs than Tory ones? http://bit.ly/e1OuNC

  4. Frieda_M

    RT @libcon: Are Labour councils really cutting more jobs than Tory ones? http://bit.ly/e1OuNC

  5. isla dowds

    RT @libcon: Are Labour councils really cutting more jobs than Tory ones? http://bit.ly/e1OuNC #toryspin #ormaliciouslies

  6. Patrick Butler

    Interesting points made by @sunny_hundal about Gdn report on Labour council job cuts http://bit.ly/fgG1tc (via @celticchickadee ) #localgov

  7. Anna Turley

    RT @patrickjbutler: Interesting points made by @sunny_hundal about Gdn report on Labour council job cuts http://bit.ly/fgG1tc (via @celt …

  8. Chris Collier

    RT @patrickjbutler: Interesting points made by @sunny_hundal about Gdn report on Labour council job cuts http://bit.ly/fgG1tc (via @celt …

  9. sarah cox

    RT @patrickjbutler: Interesting points made by @sunny_hundal about Gdn report on Labour council job cuts http://bit.ly/fgG1tc (via @celt …

  10. Sue Bristow

    Are Labour councils really cutting more jobs than Tory ones? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/m54J5W0 via @libcon

  11. Sue Bristow

    Are Labour councils really cutting more jobs than Tory ones? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/m54J5W0 via @libcon

  12. Job Search Pages

    Are Labour councils really cutting more jobs than Tory ones …: Labour authorities have issued on average 745 j… http://bit.ly/e6iezk

  13. James Evans

    RT @patrickjbutler: Interesting points made by @sunny_hundal about Gdn report on Labour council job cuts http://bit.ly/fgG1tc (via @celt …

  14. Paul Wood

    In direct proportion to % cuts, no. RT @libcon: Are Labour councils really cutting more jobs than Tory ones? http://bit.ly/e1OuNC

  15. Martin

    RT @libcon: Are Labour councils really cutting more jobs than Tory ones? http://bit.ly/e1OuNC

  16. sunny hundal

    Are Labour councils really cutting more jobs than Tory ones, for political reasons, as Guardian claims today? No http://bit.ly/e1OuNC

  17. WestMonster

    RT @sunny_hundal: Are Labour councils cutting more jobs than Tory for political reasons, as Guardian claims today? No http://bit.ly/e1OuNC

  18. Stace

    @OllyGrender Maths would prove otherwise: http://bit.ly/e1OuNC (via @sunny_hundal).

  19. Stace

    @PennyHomer There are various explanations/links here if you have the time to do some cross-checking: http://bit.ly/e1OuNC

  20. Penelope Homer

    Bit of perspective on Labour making deeper council cuts via @stackee http://t.co/j7BXXrs (via @sunny_hundal).

  21. Matt Jeffs

    RT @PennyHomer: Bit of perspective on Labour making deeper council cuts via @stackee http://t.co/j7BXXrs (via @sunny_hundal).

  22. Inflation spikes, the AV referendum campaigns kick off and Cameron U-turns on forests: political blog round up for 12 – 18 February 2011 | British Politics and Policy at LSE

    […] Conspiracy digs deeper into the Guardian’s headlines that Labour councils are cutting more jobs than Tory councils and finds that jobs losses are roughly […]





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