THE Conservative and Labour groups are at loggerheads over the scale of job losses at cash-strapped Trafford Council.

Labour leader Cllr David Acton claims the Conservative leader of the council, Cllr Matt Colledge, admitted at a council meeting that nearly 1,000 jobs have been lost over the past two years.

But the ruling Conservative group said that figure is 'completely false', that Labour's claims are 'outrageous' and the true number is 331 redundancies.

Cllr Acton, though, told Messenger he stood by his claim that nearly 1,000 jobs have been cut from the council payroll.

He said: "It was very clear what Cllr Colledge said. I asked how many employees had left Trafford Council in the past 24 months and his answer was 976.

"He said 331 had been made redundant. I assume the others were natural wastage and retirement - but those jobs have been lost."

He added: "I and the Labour group are staggered to hear that the council has lost 1,000 posts in such a short space of time.

"This is the clearest illustration of the extent to which the savage cuts in Trafford have had on the workforce of the borough.

"It's clear the Tories have tried to hide this figure at the same time as criticising other councils across Greater Manchester.

"We now know the truth - not only have services like adult care, social services, libraries, youth services, parks, education, disability services and much more been cut across Trafford, we now discover that 1,000 jobs have been cut.

"Job losses on this scale have a massive adverse impact on families, individuals, services and for the local economy. The Conservative-led Government, with their colleagues in Trafford, need to look at the damaging impact the deep cuts are having, particularly to vulnerable people, and the effect they have on families, the communities and on our economy as a whole."

But the deputy leader of the council, Cllr Alex Williams, hit back. He pointed out that while Cllr Colledge had said that 976 people had left the council this includes normal staff turnover and a significant proportion of these leavers were replaced with new staff.

He said: ""Cllr Acton's figures are completely false - 331 staff have been made redundant by the authority in the past two years, of which 190 were voluntary and 45 were management roles.

"The Trafford Labour comments are outrageous - making up figures to try to trick the residents of Trafford.

"I can only assume that Cllr Acton is attempting to cover up for the 'slash and burn' cuts of his Labour colleagues in other local councils who have cut thousands of jobs in a politically motivated manner rather than seeking to preserve services through efficiency and cutting waste."

Trafford Council, which employs 3,280 staff, made savings of £33m over the past two years. It needs to cut between £29m to £35m from its budget over the next two years.