Manchester Solidarity Federation

Council cuts in Bolton

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In the midst of the new Tory-Liberal coalition’s austerity measures due to the recession Bolton have started to bring the axe down on public services in the town.

EVERY public service in Bolton faces cuts in the council’s “worst ever” budget, as the Government tries to plug the national deficit.

Town hall bosses need to save more than £50 million over the next five years, which means that up to 500 posts will be cut and every major building project in the borough will be reviewed to see what can be put on hold. Council leader Cllr Cliff Morris said: “This is the worst I’ve ever seen. It will impinge on people’s lives — there’s no two ways about it.”

And before the tough decisions are made, the council has been ordered to save £3 million before next March.

This year’s tight budget is based on a forecast reduction in the amount of cash given to the council by the Government.

Public finances have been hit by the global recession and the banking crisis and Whitehall says it must save £6 billion this year, £1.16 billion of which will come from local government.

Due to Government policy, council tax will not increase next year, which means the gap in the budget must be made up from savings.

The council’s annual budget is about £410 million, but large sections of that, such as the schools grant, are fixed and bosses will effectively have to find savings from about £150 million of the budget.

The cuts will start with £3 million this year, followed by £14.5 million next year, then £12.9 million, £8.5 million, £8.6 million and £6.7 million in successive years up to 2015/2016.

Details of how much cash the Government will give to the council will not be available until the emergency budget on June 22.

Cllr Morris blamed the speed and severity of the necessary cuts on the coalition government.

He said: “We’re arguing that they’re doing it too quickly. It would’ve been hard anyway, but it’s been made harder because it has been brought forward by three months.

“What we’re trying to say to people is that this is the scale of the problem and we will be working to resolve it as fairly as we possibly can — but things are going to happen.

“People will say ‘it’s about time cuts were made’ until it’s a service that affects them, and these are services that are going to affect everyone. We’re under no illusions that we’re in for a rough ride.”

[…]

Capital expenditure is also under close scrutiny, with improvements to the borough’s roads and primary schools among the building projects likely to be postponed.

Source: The Bolton News

In the light of such cuts the only way workers in the public sector can save services or deflect the worse of the bosses attacks is through solidarity and direct action. Unison have said they are consulting their members but workers must unite across union boundaries and recognise their common struggle. This is only the start of national cuts in the public sector leading to job cuts and service cuts for the local community. If we can stand up and fight against these cuts now it will show the bosses that we won’t take the ‘savage cuts’ lying down.

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Written by manchestersolfed

June 7, 2010 at 9:59 pm

Posted in recession

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