A YORKSHIRE council has warned it could cut more than 650 jobs as it unveiled its latest plans to deal with what its leader described as “massive Government cuts” over the next two years,
Bradford Council executive’s budget plans were revealed yesterday and will be debated at a council meeting tomorrow.
The authority’s ruling Labour group is proposing increasing council tax by 1.6 per cent for each of the next two years and using nearly £16m of the council’s reserves.
The proposed budget cuts council spending by more than £54m and places more than 650 jobs at risk of potential redundancy.
Council leader Coun David Green blamed the situation on funding cuts from the coalition.
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.
“Tough decisions will have to be made about which services to reduce and which to stop.
Coun Green said the council tax rise was needed to protect services and give the authority more control over its future and “lessen our susceptibility to unfair and disproportionate cuts”.
Funding will be reduced for youth services and children’s centres, some toilets in the district will close and the number of council wardens will fall.
Mobile library services are set to be scrapped, but the council is keeping its home delivery service.
A proposal to close public toilets at Haworth Central Park, Baildon, and Ilkley has been withdrawn.
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.”
He added: “Our constructive relationships with local schools and with the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner has helped us identify resources to maintain the current network of Children’s Centres while we carry out more consultation and to keep current numbers of PCSOs.”
Amendments to the proposals announced yesterday include reducing the proposed cut to the youth service from £3.2m to £1.45m over two years.
Use of support from Bradford’s Schools Forum to maintain Children’s Centres for 12 months while proposals are developed with schools, parents and communities to deliver the savings in the following year.
The plan to reduce opening times at household waste and recycling sites has also been shelved.