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WOLVES COUNCIL PLANS £11MILLION CUTS

22-06-2009

Internal documents seen by The Stirrer show Wolverhampton Council plans “salami slicing” services over the next two years to make savings of up to £11 million. Grants are being cut, the Christmas Park and Ride will be axed and Meal On Wheels being outsourced.

The details are contained in a document circulated on the local authority’s intranet, called “Streamlining The Workforce”.

Written by chief executive Richard Carr, it admits that since the Council decided not to scrap a Business Transformation Plan with IT provider Axon, “we have neither the time to undertake root and branch process change, nor the resource to invest in labour-saving technology immediately”.

Despite that, savings of between £1million - £3million are expected for the current financial year; rising to £3million - £5million for 2010/2011.

This follows The Stirrer’s revelation that reductions of up to 10% of the total budget are being sought in anticipation of the government cutting public spending.

As in Birmingham, Wolverhampton is pledging to “examine” Meals On Wheels, and there’s also confirmation of plans to reduce the cost of leased accommodation by moving staff out of Mander House and Wolverhampton Science Park.

There’s also a radical proposal to turn over the Sport and Recreation Department to a non-profit making Leisure Trust, which will take over the running of Aldersley Leisure Village, the Central Baths and Bilston Leisure Centre (although they will remain in Council ownership).

A link-up is mooted between the Grand Theatre, Lighthouse Cinema and the Civic Hall complex, while other savings identified including the end of the Xmas Park and Ride bus, which boosts trade at the markets.

It’s also clear that grants to outside bodies will be reduced.

Although there’s no suggestion of compulsory redundancies, there’s a strong hint that posts may go voluntarily, with the authority likely to reduce its overall number of employees.

The cuts are due to start taking effect in October.

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