Blaenau Gwent could lose up to 160 jobs as council bids to save £10m
6:27am Thursday 19th December 2013 in Gwent news
BLAENAU Gwent council is expected to announce job cuts and reductions in services today as it attempts to save £10 million for 2014/15.
At a special meeting of the council this morning, the council will decide on the phase two and three savings proposals put forward by the chief finance officer yesterday (wed) at a special joint scrutiny committee.
The proposed budget cuts include a minimum of 164 job losses across services, a Meals on Wheels price hike, decreased street lighting and terminating the grants and subscriptions budgets which could affect sports organisations, residents associations, allotments and churches in the area.
A special meeting of the council today (Thurs) will decide which of these will go ahead.
The £10 million deficit needs to be addressed in order to balance the 2014/15 revenue budget.
At the scrutiny meeting yesterday, members discussed and argued about where the axe should fall.
There were disagreements between the majority Labour party councillors and minority group Independents about the proposals, with independent cllr Nigel Daniels saying the committee was making decisions 'blind' and were not properly considering how cuts would affect residents in the borough.
He added he did not know how sports groups would survive if cuts to grounds maintenance go ahead, as they could find themselves forced to pay for maintenance themselves.
Proposed cuts being considered tomorrow are; a minimum of 164 posts to go including homecare workers, which is expected to save £600,000 rather than the £700,000 saving initially estimated; losing five jobs from environmental services staff saving £56,000, getting rid of four seasonal grasscutters at local cemeteries saving £58,000; stopping or reducing local, county and allotment grants saving up to £12,000; reduction in mayoral and civic hospitality totalling £18,000; decreasing grounds maintenance including grass cutting and sports land maintenance saving £500,000; losing four jobs in the street lighting section saving £151,000; turning off lights at 9pm until 6.30am on principal roads saving £30,000; increasing Meals on Wheels from £2.40 a meal up to a maximum £3.90; closing five public toilets saving £36,000,
However, sources at the council said the changes to street lighting are unlikely to go ahead, and while Meals on Wheels is likely to go up, it will probably not be up to the maximum £3.90.
It also includes the closure of Nantyglo Leisure Centre on December 24, which will save the council £327,350.
Leader of the council Hedley McCarthy said: “This is not a situation particular to Blaenau Gwent – councils across Wales are facing the same problems following cuts from the Welsh Government.
“We are putting forward a package which we believe will sustain the most important frontline services.”
Comments are closed on this article.