Crunch talks on devastating cuts

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MASSIVE cuts to services – including the proposed closure of two libraries – are set to be agreed by councillors today.

Around 750 posts are also under threat at Blackpool Council although it is hoped the number of compulsory redundancies will be restricted to between 300 and 350.

A package of measures which will see £27m slashed from the town hall budget is due to go before Blackpool Council’s executive, meeting at 5pm today in the town hall.

Boundary Library at Grange Park, Mereside Library and Hoyle Resource Centre for the elderly at Grange Park are all earmarked for closure.

The Young People’s Services budget is set to be slashed by £2m which is around half its annual spending, while the Illuminations will be shortened to help save £267,000.

Council leader Coun Peter Callow said: “I’m going to tell the meeting why we are in this situation – that the country was left one trillion pounds in debt by the last government. That is the root of the problem.

“I’m going down to London to see Eric Pickles tomorrow to ask for more money from the Government. If we don’t get anything, I will be disappointed, but we will have to roll our sleeves up and get on with it.

“Nobody wants these cuts, least of all me, with an election coming up.

“It’s not in my interests, or the people of Blackpool’s interests, but we have difficult decisions to make and I think we have done our best to find savings to reduce the impact as much as we can.”

Union leaders will be holding meetings this week with town hall chiefs.

Julia Orry, branch secretary of local government union Unison, said: “We are still consulting with the authority on these cuts. We will be meeting with them on February 11 to put ideas to them after reading the budget papers.

“We are trying to look at some savings and having meetings all week with all heads of service when they will go through where the redundancies will be.”

After today’s executive, the budget will go to the full council for final approval on Friday February 18.