The number of people employed by Blackburn with Darwen Council has fallen by almost 1,000 over seven years.

In 2010, the council employed 3,052 people, not including school employees, councillors, partnership posts or casual posts.

But by the end of 2017, the number of employees had plummeted to just 2,104, a reduction of 948.

The figures are revealed in the council's equality watch report 2017/18, which has recently been published.

Introducing the report, chief executive Harry Catherall said: "During the past couple of years, we have continued to find ways to manage the unprecedented reduction in our financial budget.

"We have had to make significant reductions to job roles, reduce service provision and in some cases discontinue services in order to achieve savings.

"Every part of the council has been affected. We continue to focus on spending the money left on the things people value and need the most - in

other words, our priorities.

"Increased effort is also going into helping people play a greater role in improving things for us all and shaping our towns and improving community life through the your call campaign.

"We remain one of the biggest employers in the borough with 69 per cent of our employees living in the borough."

The council's priorities are creating more jobs, improving housing and building more houses, and improving health and well-being.

It also focuses on improving things for young people, safeguarding the vulnerable and making the public's money go further.

The report states: "We continue to find ways to manage the unprecedented reduction in the financial budget allocated to the authority by central government.

"Subsequently, the last twelve months have again limited our ability to increase areas of under-represented groups in the organisations workforce profile as identified in previous Equality Watch Reports.

"We have continued to manage a downsizing programme which has meant limited opportunities to impact the workforce profile of the organisation in terms of under-represented protected characteristics, with external recruitment limited owing to the organisations priority to identify alternative employment for employees affected by downsizing.

"It has also meant a reduction in the amount of internal movement within the organisation."

Three quarters of the workforce are from a white ethnic background and a further 15.8 per cent are from a BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) background which is an increase of 0.6 per cent from the previous year.

According to the report, the figures compared with the local population profile in relation to ethnicity, demonstrate an under-representation of the workforce with regards to ethnicity, as about 30 per cent of the working age population are from a BME background.

The report adds: "Over recent years there has been limited opportunity to influence the workforce demographics with regards to ethnicity as the majority of recruitment has been internally from our own employees.

"However, as we launch the new recruitment strategy, where we advertise externally we will be working to raise applications from all sections of our community, working with partner organisations to raise awareness and encouraging interested applicants to sign up to our email alerts for vacancies

to ensure we retain interest."