A thousand lawyers hit by public sector cuts

One thousand local government lawyers’ jobs will be affected by a wave of county councils that are planning to merge with district councils.

Of England’s 34 counties, 18 are considering unitary status, meaning consolidation of their legal teams, which sources expect to result in more than 100 redundancies.

Kent County Council is retaining the status quo, but its director of law and governance Geoff Wilde said: “The purpose of merging is to generate efficiencies and savings, but these can only come from economies of scale and cutting posts.

“It’s not necessarily going to be at the district levels that lawyers are let go, but what we can be certain of is that there won’t be as many lawyers at the end of the day as there were at the beginning.”

The county councils are taking advantage of the Government’s white paper, which gives them until 25 January to apply for unitary status.

The bids are expected to escalate the rivalry between county and district tiers.

Those counties making applications include Hampshire, North Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire.