650 jobs were today put under threat at a West Yorkshire council as it reduces spending and services in the face of funding cuts.
Bradford Council will cut spending by more than £54m in the next two years. It said it would inject nearly £16m from its reserves but would still face a “budget shortfall” running into millions of pounds in two years time, putting more than 650 jobs at potential risk of redundancy.
Labour’s Dave Green, leader of the council, blamed government spending cuts for the “tough decisions” ahead.
He said: “Bradford is being absolutely hammered by this government’s cuts. We’ve already had cuts of £100m imposed and now we have to find another £115m, about a quarter of the remaining budget.
“Even when all our proposals are accounted for we will be looking at another massive hole in the budget in a couple of years. At the same time councils in some of the richest parts of the country will see their income increase. It’s bad for Bradford District, bad for services and bad for our economy.”
He said council services in Bradford would “change beyond recognition” and while some front line services would be protected, “cutbacks are inevitable under the circumstances”.
Coun Green said: ”Our first priority is always to try to protect services from cuts and we’ve done that again with most of our proposed measures focused on back office services and improving efficiency. But by the end of this budget period back office services will be down to the bone with a corresponding increase in pressure on frontline services and any room for manoeuvre to protect the frontline will be all but gone.”
Proposals to be put to councillors now include reducing funding for youth services, children’s centres and day care and the scaling back of “economic development activity”. Some public toilets across the district will close and the numbers of council wardens will be reduced. Mobile library services will also stop, with an increased reliance on volunteers to keep branch libraries open.