Beds, Herts & Bucks

Milton Keynes Council announces plan to cut 300 posts

About 300 posts are being cut from a staff of 2,500 at Milton Keynes Council as part of a £27m package of savings.

The budget passed by the council in the early hours of Wednesday morning will see cuts in youth services and new charges for some adult care services.

Councillors from the minority Liberal Democrat administration emerged at 0300 GMT to an angry protest.

Leader Cec Tallat said cutting jobs when business was beginning to recover in Milton Keynes was "dreadful".

"This is not something we have ever experienced before," he added.

The council has already introduced £10.3m of savings in the current financial year.

Sam Crooks, responsible for finance, said he was relieved the budget cuts had been agreed so quickly.

"It would have looked bad for the council if we took days to reach decisions. There was a lot of debate but the proposals went through.

"When we look at what we have protected, we've stopped very little. Many of the council's activities have gone through but at a much reduced level."

Cutbacks have been made in building control, trading standards and environmental health.

Government imposed cuts

Mr Crooks said these services were done to a very high level and would now be provided at the minimum.

Next year £27m would be saved but over the following three years cuts will amount to £17m, £12m and £15m - a total of £71m over four years.

Norman Miles, leader of the Labour group on the council, said he would have found it "extremely difficult" to implement the government cuts but would have started consultations much earlier.

"Because they are government imposed cuts we would have had to do something. We would have had fewer cuts spread over a longer period.

"We agree with very few of the cuts proposed but, obviously, a smaller organisation will need fewer people.

"But we would have done this in a planned and strategic way so that people affected could organise their lives.

"Increasing home care charges, cutting back youth services and reducing police do not strike me as taking care of people which is what the Lib Dems claim they are doing."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites