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The number of job losses threatened at local authorities because of Government spending cuts has topped the 140,000 mark, according to a study.

The GMB union said 203 councils had now issued official warnings of redundancies after having their budgets slashed by central Government.

The Local Government Association warned last year that 140,000 jobs could be lost, but the GMB said this figure had already been passed.

Most of the local authorities in the study had issued a 90-day statutory consultation warning of job cuts, said the union.

Councils have given notice that they plan to delete vacant posts and seek volunteers for early retirements and redundancy, according to GMB officials.

Paul Kenny, GMB general secretary, said: "The Government is deliberately creating unemployment on a scale that we have not seen before.

"As a direct consequence of the Government spending plans, the cumulative number of job losses is 140,456 for 203 authorities in Britain. To that total has to be added the job losses in the rest of the public sector.

Any suggestion that frontline services for the most vulnerable people in our society are not being affected by cuts of this scale is simply nonsense.The impact for those who depend on these services will be devastating. Some services like meals on wheels in some authorities are now only available to those at death's door.

"In the current circumstances it is hard to see the private sector creating enough new jobs to make up for these job losses. The money that people in work have to spend is being badly affected by the hike in VAT, high fuel prices and other inflationary pressures on the economy as pay is not keeping up with inflation.


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"Pay freezes in the public sector and the threatened increase in pension contributions will make matters worse."