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  • Writer's pictureRobert Spicer

Bristol City Council announce cuts of £21million as 350 job losses are expected

Bristol City Council announce cuts of £21million as 350 job losses are expected

Bristol City Council has recently outlined its plans for cutting £21 million from its budget, totalling 6% of the total £367m budget, through cuts to services and jobs. Their plans form part of a four year plan that aims to make £70 million of savings. Unfortunately, the council is currently £3 million short of its plan to save £28 million this year, meaning that more drastic action is needed throughout the coming years. The proposals will go to full council in February.

The Good

One positive is that council tax will be frozen again for 2012/13, which will provide a smidgen of comfort for some.

The Bad

The prevented rise in council tax doesn’t mask the fact that some previously free services will now have to be paid for as part of both Council and Governmental strategy:

Disabled people will now have to pay £10 for a “blue badge” to enable them to park in disabled spaces, a service that was previously free. This nationwide plan will raise £40,000 overall – an increase that Labour calls “pathetic”.

Parking at Ashton Court Estate will stop being free, as Bristol residents and visitors will be charged £1, raising an extra £210,000 for the council a year.

Pest control charges will be introduced for those not claiming benefits, with rat extermination costing £25.

£8 million will be saved from the corporate services department, resulting in staff cutbacks.

£5 million will go from the health and social care budget, as Bristol moves towards a focus on private health care. Bristol’s residential care homes are also still under threat of closure.

£5 million will be cut from children and young people’s services

£6 million will go from the neighbourhoods and city development departments. £1.9million has been saved by changing the rubbish and recycling collections contract.

£2 million is expected to be cut from the transport budget, which could result in the scrapping of night buses.

£300,000 funding will be saved from changing the light bulbs in Bristol’s streetlights to energy efficient. While this may appear to be actually a positive step, anyone who looks out to Bristol’s orange glow knows that the damage to the environment has already been done; this is economic, not eco, decision.;

£139,000 funding for the Legacy Commission will also be cut, which may well lead to the organisation, which promotes and encourages achievement among ethnic minorities, shutting down.

The proposals target car drivers from all angles, with more enforcement of bus lanes and increase in pay and display schemes hoping to raise £500,000.

The Ugly

The council also hope to encourage health authorities to hold post-mortems at Flax Bourton Coroner’s Court, which will result in families having to travel further. The change, despite increasing the pain and trauma of an already difficult event, will raise £15,000. Job losses are still expected, despite the increasing workload, which suggests quite how serious the troubles facing Bristol coroner services are.

350 staff will be made redundant, totalling 5% of the council’s total workforce. These job losses come on top of the 380 redundancies in this year. The Council also want to change the terms and conditions of contracts of employment as another way to save money. Overtime payments will be cut, and offers of unpaid leave increased.

Ironically, perhaps, redundancy is not always the cheapest option, particularly as the council will now have to pay out an extra £9.5 million in redundancy pay.

Barbera Janke, leader of Bristol Council said that the council was striving for efficiency and that “the budget proposals must reflect the reality of the economic position we face”.

The 350 redundant staff surely understand the economic position that they face.


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