Cambridgeshire

Protesters jeer as Peterborough city budget passed

Cuts to public services totalling £75m over the next five years have been approved by Peterborough City Council.

Its annual government grant has been reduced by £15m and council tax rises have been frozen at 2.5% in line with a Conservative election pledge.

Between 170 and 180 jobs will go with around 75 workers facing compulsory redundancy at the unitary authority.

About 30 protesters burnt a copy of the budget, calling it a "symbolic act", and heckled councillors.

The council has cut £28m from the 2011/12 budget which has been set at £368m for the same period.

The Conservative-controlled authority voted for a package of measures that include cutting children's services spending by 10% over five years.

The operations department which looks after roads, transport and planning will cut its budget by 20% over the same period.

Investing in growth

Council grants to help people with home improvements will be cut by 40%, and there will be 25% less money allocated to adapting homes of disabled residents.

Adult social care needs to find £2m of savings, while the council's communications budget will be reduced by 40%.

But the authority said it was still investing in growth.

It will spend £150,000 a year on developing the case for a university in Peterborough, and will continue with a £2m redevelopment of the Moyes End Terrace at the city's football club.

The council's Conservative leader, Marco Cereste, said he and his colleagues had done all they could to protect frontline services

He said there would be no more cost cutting on top of what had already been outlined over the next three of four years - unless the council was forced to do so.

Mr Cereste said: "All the cuts we've put in place are able to be means tested so if you can't afford to pay those charges you won't pay them."

But Nazim Khan, one of three Labour councillors on the council, said: "These are massive cuts, massive redundancies. We fear there will be nobody left to deliver the services."

There was also criticism, rejected by Mr Cereste, that councillors' allowances totalling about £700,000 a year should be cut further.

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