£115m saving but ‘services remain safe’

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News focus

A council chief has insisted that frontline services have been protected after figures released claim the authority has made £115million in cuts since 2010.

Unison this week released figures showing that Central Bedfordshire Council and Bedford Borough Council have made more than £160million in cuts since the new coalition Government came in.

And this week Central Beds revealed there will be another £43million to save over the next four years.

Unison regional organiser Lorraine Kalaher said: “What these numbers don’t reveal is the human cost that these cuts have on real people in local communities who rely on public services.

“These cuts represent the loss of vital jobs and services with day care, home care, libraries, children’s services and leisure facilities taking a real hit.”

According to data from the Department of Communities and Local Government, Central Bedfordshire Council has made £115million in cuts, with neighbouring authorities Bedford saving itself £45million and Luton £25million.

But leader of the council James Jamieson says this figure is not a true reflection and it has actually made £60million in cuts.

He said: “The figures provided by Unison are deliberately misleading and headline grabbing as they include budgets transferred from Central Bedfordshire Council to schools as they became 

“It would be wrong for us to comment on what other councils are doing, but Central Bedfordshire Council is amongst the lowest funded authorities in the country.”

The council has just released its draft budget plan for 2014/2015, which includes plans to make savings by reductions in building-related costs, councillor expenses and non-front line services such as consultants and agency staff. There are also plans to secure better deals when re-tendering contracts.

Over the last three years the council has made cuts to council jobs, various services including highways, transport, children’s services, and health and social care.