A REPORT published this week, highlights the impact that a decade of austerity policies has had on council workforces across Wales.

During the last decade local government has had to endure nearly £1 billion in cuts.

And the report by the Wales Governance Centre’s fiscal analysis team shows that 37,000 local government jobs, have been lost across the country.

This is 19.9 per cent of the workforce.

Figures for Powys County Council (PCC) from the report show that between the end of 2012, and the beginning of 2019 the total headcount of the workforce has shrunk from 8, 353 to 6,469 or 1,884.

The full time equivalent shows a fall of 5,317, down to 4,248.

This is 1,069 less posts or 20.1 per cent of the workforce.

Now after a decade of cuts, local authorities believe that they are unable to absorb further sweeping budget reductions, without devastating implications for service delivery.

In Powys there could be at least three more years of pain.

In March, councillors voted through a 9.5 per cent council tax rise with over £6 million in cuts last year.

At least another £20 million worth of cuts are expected over the next three years.

This is on top of the £100 million pounds worth of cuts made by PCC during the last decade.

Council Leader, Rosemarie Harris, (Independent – Llangynidr) said: “With pay one of the largest elements of any council’s spending, it was inevitable that job losses would be part of the savings needed to meet budget reductions.

“The council has been clear that the scale of funding cuts would mean a change in the way services are delivered.

“Reductions in some areas, with a smaller more agile workforce, regrettably meaning a loss of jobs.

“With no sign to an end in the squeeze on public spending it is inevitable that the council will have to  transform the way it works with continued pressure on staffing numbers and as a consequence the local economy.

“Powys will continue to lobby government for changes to the way funding is allocated, one that reflects the cost of providing services in the largest rural authority in Wales.”

Cllr David Poole (Caerphilly Council), Wales Local Government Association workforce spokesman said: “Local government workers account for social workers, teachers, road workers, rubbish collectors, lifeguards at leisure centres, librarians and much more in between, and this report shows in stark terms how these jobs are being lost from our communities due to the ongoing cuts.

“The council workforce has borne the brunt of austerity more than any other sector.

“However, the ability of the workforce to shoulder such cuts without the delivery of vital services being affected, such as social care and education, is now at an end.”