Manchester

Bolton Council cuts affect the young and old

Cliff Morris, Leader of Bolton Council
Image caption The authority warned it was to make spending cuts earlier this month

Bolton Council has voted to cut the budgets of its adult and children's services in a bid to save £60m over the next four years.

The authority had warned earlier this month it had agreed proposals to shed jobs to reduce its spending.

Now councillors have agreed to shave more than £6m from its adult services allowance for 2011/12, affecting the elderly and vulnerable.

A further £3.5m will be slashed from its children's services budget.

Bolton Council has also decided to save £70,000 from its development and regeneration pot, as well as just over £2m from spending on the environment and a similar amount from corporate resources.

Some of the measures the council is considering to save cash are merging library and museum staff, introducing shorter library opening hours, or even not running green waste collections in the winter months.

Savings made in adult services may mean it becomes harder to access care or it may become more expensive as care costs are raised.

Three-hundred and fifty jobs will also have to go.

Bolton Council said its affected departments had now been asked to review their programmes and report back on how best the money could be saved.

The cuts come in response to the anticipated reduction in central government grants.

The coalition government has said health will be protected, but many departments will be facing an average reduction of 25% over the next four years.

Cliff Morris, Bolton Council leader, said: "No department is exempt from these so we're going to look at everything and we're going to look at services, because it will affect the services which are most vulnerable to us and that are most vulnerable to society."

He added: "I'm not happy about it because some of the things we're having to look at I would have wanted to protect."

Gareth Evans, from Age Concern in Bolton, said any spending cut in adult services would have an impact on older people.

"Inevitably someone's going to suffer, and those people are older people who are in receipt of these services," he said.

"It's inevitably going to affect the quality of their life in terms of their independence, their ability to engage as members of our community, and I guess without being too dramatic, for some it could be the difference between existing and not existing."

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