From the TUC

Cuts Watch #360: Further redundancies and impacts for vulnerable groups

01 Feb 2011, by in Cuts Watch

Blackpool Gazette reports that Blackpool is suffering the consequences of a £27m budget reduction as 700 town hall jobs are being axed, while libraries, the Illuminations and vulnerable children are among the casualties of the spending cuts.

Reductions include £10.3m from children, adult and family services which includes social services; £2.4m from the places directorate which includes tourism; £5.8m from Blackpool Services which includes parks and leisure, and £3.2m from the Chief Executive’s department.

The knock on affect of this is that Boundary Library and Mereside Library will close to save nearly £94,000. Shortening the Lights at South Shore and reducing the number of tableaux at North Shore in addition to the savings on the Christmas lights will save nearly £267,000. Seafront services including the life-saving beach patrol will lose nearly £125,000, while the events programme, which pulls in millions of visitors to Blackpool each year, is facing a £232,000 budget cut. Scaling back Blackpool Young Peoples Service, which includes work and training scheme Connexions, will lose £2m while shutting Hoyle Resource Centre for the elderly at Grange Park will save the council £345,000, and withdrawing support for school PE lessons will save £342,000.

Vulnerable groups have not escaped the cuts, with reductions to services which include home helps and Children’s and Sure Start Centres facing a £500,000 cut. Respite services for carers are also being hit with £170,000 pulled from its budget.

The Local Government Chronicle reports that Suffolk council has unveiled proposals to cut £7.7m from front-line budgets and ‘divest’ millions of pounds of services as it forges ahead with controversial plans to strip the council down to a commissioning hub.

The council had already announced last month that it expected around 1,472 jobs to go.  Cabinet papers, to be discussed on 1 February, have outlined where the axe will fall. The front-line service cuts are part of a £42.5m savings package for the next financial year and of the council’s wider agenda to divest services to the private sector and new enterprises led by social entrepreneurs and council staff.

The Cabinet paper says that the council has a well established policy that where specific grants fall out or are reduced then the services they support should contract accordingly, and that this policy will continue. This would suggest £1m will be cut from its Supporting People programme, which provides housing support for elderly and vulnerable people and children’s programmes such as Sure Start and Aiming High short breaks for disabled children will also face cuts.

The Grimsby Telegraph reveals that Lincolnshire County Council is planning to axe over 800 jobs in response to having to make savings of £18 million a year. The council budget needs to be reduced by 2015 to cope with losing £42.8 million of Government cash in the next two years.

Youth services have been badly hit as children’s services and adult’s/children’s commissioning suffered the biggest hit with 522 people out of 2,000 proposed to lose out. The planned redundancies across the council include six in finance and resources; 61 in community safety; 65 in highways and transportation; seven in planning; eight in environmental services; 19 in the customer service centre; 61 in economy and culture; 18 in public health; 29 in performance and governance; and 22 in PAs and secretaries.

Lincolnshire Unison branch secretary John Sharman said Chief Executive Tony McArdle had previously predicted 1,000 jobs would go over four years, but that the figure was more likely to be 1,200 in 12 months. An estimated 1,500 people from departments including information technology, human resources, property management and business support will be consulted about job losses later in the year.