Council ‘cut to the bone’ by savings

Unison members at a previous protest outside Blackpool Town Hall
Unison members at a previous protest outside Blackpool Town Hall
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Union leaders today warned the latest jobs cuts at Blackpool Council will leave the authority “cut to the bone”.

Another 50 jobs are set to go on top of 250 announced last November.

The council has to save an additional £5m bringing the total budget cuts for 2016/17 to £25m after its government settlement was reduced just before Christmas by 4.9 per cent.

As revealed in yesterday’s Gazette, the move means another raft of redundancies.

Julia Orry, branch secretary of Unison at Blackpool Council, said: “It is a shock to everyone because the authority had sorted out how it was going to make its savings and all of a sudden there are all these extra savings which have to be found.

“The staff are already doing their bit, taking unpaid leave etc, so it is unfair they are taking the brunt of it.

“I believe the council is looking at different ways of working but we have to blame the government because they keep bombarding us with cuts all the time.

“We get through one round of cuts and now we are going through it again.

“Morale is very low among staff who are losing the colleagues they work with and having to take extra work on.

“We can’t go on without frontline services being affected as we are nearly cut to the bone now.

“The public need to come forward and say we are not prepared to put up with this any more.”

Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn, who revealed details of the additional savings to be made yesterday, described the latest cuts as “soul-destroying”.

Frontline services such as libraries, street cleansing and adult social care are among those which will be affected.

But the council is putting £1.3m into the budget from its reserves to help protect services for the most vulnerable.

Coun Tony Williams, leader of the Conservatives on the council, said: “The cuts all over the country are difficult to manage and digest but it’s quite clear that some councils are doing a much better job of it than others.

“I am saddened so many job losses have to be announced by this council when they continually waste huge amounts of money on worthless ideas that will not only hit hard when they are implemented, but will continue to be a financial burden to this town.

“The council still continue with the concept that the only way out of debt is to borrow more.”