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186 jobs to go as Salford council announce £21.8m cuts

Salford City Council will shed another 186 jobs after announcing cuts of £21.8 million over the next financial year.

This is on top of the 1,200 posts already cut since the start of the government’s austerity programme in 2010.

120 of the 186 posts are expected to be through internal and voluntary redundancy.

This is linked to the council’s ‘digital transformation programme’ – bringing in partners to provide services and moving more services online.

48 jobs will be removed through deleting vacant posts or where staff have asked to take voluntary severance or retirement.

City Mayor Ian Stewart blamed the cumulative effect of government cuts.

“We have to think smarter. We have to redesign the way we do things and partnership work is key to being able to cope with this budget situation,” said Stewart in a press conference this morning.

But he warned: “There’s only so long a council can keep making cuts before things start to collapse. We’ve been able to do salalmi slicing for the past couple of years. The council will have to ask itself, ‘What is the council for?’ What services can we provide?”

Some  of the biggest reductions will be from Children’s Services, which will see a £6.1m cut over the next year.

It’s a huge amount to find from already stretched budgets.

Largely the savings will come from two reviews to the 0-25 and Looked After Children services, which are expected to save £1.14m and £2.475m each.

“In relation to children and older people we have to try to do things differently without direct negative impact,” said Stewart.

£4.229m will come off the Community Health and Social Care budget, £3.766m from Public Health, £2.897m from Enviroment – including £430,000 from switching to a three-weekly bin collection.

Read: Salford to trial three-weekly bin collections in 2016

Corporate Business (the department for finance, HR, IT etc) will see a cut of £1.51m.

It includes removing the last £25,000 support the council gives to Salford City Radio.

Regeneration will see a cut of £437,000, removing support to Metrolink and business offices The Landing at MediaCityUK.

More customer services will shift online, including reporting complaints, in a bid to save £1.641m.

Mr Stewart was asked what reassurances he had for those who could see their loved ones put in immediate danger by the threat of more cuts.

“Our services will be maintained to make sure the most vulnerable are protected,” said Stewart.

“It may mean that we can’t deliver them to people who are in need, but not in danger.

“We have to be realistic and accept that it won’t be the same as it was in the past.

“It does put pressure on the council, staff and public. That’s what we’re saying to the government. Austerity measures aren’t working.”

Councillor Bill Hinds, Executive member for Finance and Support Services, issued a stark warning that “full services” might disappear if the government’s austerity programme continued.

“We’ve seen unprecendented cuts – more so than anywhere else, and local government has been at the sharp end.

“We’re seriously now having to look at services which people would find unbelieveable if we cut them.

“At the minute I believe all councils are being treated very unfairly. We’ve been pointing to a potential crisis and now it’s coming home to roost.”

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Tom is SalfordOnline.com's News Editor and community co-ordinator.