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JOBS THREAT AS WOLVES BUDGETS SLASHED AGAIN

17-06-2009

650 jobs could be axed at Woverhampton Council under cost cutting plans being drawn up by the Conservative/Liberal Democrat leadership. Leaked documents seen by the city's Labour opposition show departments will be asked to identify budget cuts of up to 10%.

The potential savings - which come on top of reductions worth £39.6m already identified for 2009-2011 - were discussed at a meeting of the local authority's Corporate Management team (CMT) last Thursday, details of which were mysteriously obtained by Cllr Andrew Johnson, the shadow Finance spokesman.

The CMT is attended by the Directors of the Council and chaired by the Chief Executive.

The confidential minutes refer to “The decision to develop savings options based on a reduction of spend of 5% and 10% ...in the context of public spending cuts” and confirm “that Directors should identify saving proposals of 5% (£9m) and 10%(£18m)”.

It was “Agreed to surface [i.e. make public] the specific proposals with Members alongside a discussion on Council Tax in mid July” at a joint meeting of the Cabinet and Corporate Management Team.

Councillor Johnson, commented: “The impact of further spending cuts of this magnitude on Council services and the local economy will be catastrophic. 10% cuts would mean at least a further 650 job losses.

"Libraries, community centres, leisure facilities would have to be closed. Services for vulnerable children and adults would be placed under impossible strain.

"Every vital service the Council undertakes, including road safety, street lighting, road maintenance, refuse collection, litter collection and grass cutting, would be affected. Serious industrial relations difficulties are virtually inevitable given the scale of the cuts”

“The minutes reveal the truth about the Tories’ plans for Wolverhampton Council. They seem to be hell bent on cutting spending whatever the impact on public services. The Labour Group will oppose the cuts proposals which are unnecessary and unworkable".

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