Millions of pounds wiped off the budget for supporting Salford people, almost half a million pounds wiped off the Community Safety budget, and almost one million pounds wiped off the budget to help our children achieve better lives…
These are just some of the proposals which were put forward to save Salford City Council almost £33million over the next three years. And if that wasn't bad enough, the Council is now trying to cut around another £10-£15million from its budget in order to meet the public spending cuts imposed by the ConDem Government.
A few weeks ago, Salford Star reported how over £9million of cuts were proposed for the Council's Adult Social Care department, and over £1million of cuts were being proposed for the Neighbourhoods department, including £215,000 to Debt Advice and Welfare Rights (see here). Now we have seen initial proposals for cuts across every department over the next three years…
A total of £5.2million cuts which will particularly hit the most vulnerable young people in the city. It includes a proposed cut to the clothing grants budget of £5,000, a £95,000 reduction to the 14-19 support service, and a cut of over £1million to the Early Intervention Fund and Extended Schools budget. Meanwhile, direct Government cuts have `terminated' the Behaviour and Improvement Programme and the Gifted and Talented scheme, amongst others.
Particularly ironic is the Council's proposed £300,000 reduction in subsidy for the Music and Performing Art Service – at a time when the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra is due to pick up a Council cheque for £3million and the Manchester International Festival is to get a £150,000 sponsorship for opera at The Lowry.
There are proposed cuts of £463,000 over the next three years, over half being cut from the Community Safety Unit. There's also proposed cuts of £220,000 to schemes related to violent crime, drugs and alcohol problems, including a cut of £95,000 to the Drug and Alcohol Action Team.
Salford's Supporting People scheme which was set up in 2003 to "to help vulnerable people live independently in their own homes" faces a £1.9million cut. This scheme delivers "high quality, housing-related support services" for `the elderly, people with disabilities, women fleeing domestic violence, people with mental health problems, young people leaving care and homeless people' amongst others. It's also proposed to slash £285,000 from Housing Choice and Support, and to `discontinue' the assisted Families Project to save £40,000
CUSTOMER AND SUPPORT SERVICES
It's proposed to cut the opening hours of the newly opened Gateway Centres to save £40,000, to reduce `face-to-face' contact in the `contact centres' as part of a £1.394million cut and to `review' the provision of Occupational Health services to save £50,000.
Salford's top Bereavement Service will see a proposed reduction of posts to save £93,000, while Burial and Cremation charges will rise to raise an extra £241,000. The graffiti removal team will lose £54,000, Salford's air quality lab will shut to save £15,000 and recycling collections will move from fortnightly to monthly (a £246,000 cut). The property maintenance, alterations and adaptations budget will be slashed by £100,000.
Proposed cuts include the closure of Swinton Market to save £68,000, increased car parking charges to raise £62,000 and increased planning application fees to raise £205,000. Urban Vision, Salford Council's joint venture company, will see its management fees slashed by £3million.
On top of these cuts, proposals also include a 30% reduction in so-called `discrepancy spend' spread across departments including Children's Services, Community Health and Social Care, Environment and Sustainable Regeneration. Meanwhile, Culture Sport and Leisure will see a cut of £1.770million in a `service redesign' which we understand includes the closure of Ordsall Library.
Also going, according to these proposals are two senior management posts in the Chief Exec's department to save £200,000, while the Marketing and Communications empire is being whittled down with a whopping £1.810million cut.
Altogether the proposed cuts over three years total £33.630million. However Salford City Council has to find at least another £10million of cuts on top so that it doesn't set an illegal budget.
According to these documents, the biggest hit departments are those that support Salford's most vulnerable people – Adult Social Care (£9.423million) and Children's (£5.211million). The full extent of Salford Council cuts will be known in March.
• If anyone in Salford has any more news or information on the forthcoming cuts please let us know firstname.lastname@example.org 07957 982960
• The East Salford Community Committee voted to support the Salford Against The Cuts Campaign at its recent meeting. Salford Council Leader John Merry was one of those who voted in favour of supporting the Campaign (see here for more details of Salford Against the Cuts).