Leicester

Leicestershire councils agree cost-cutting budgets

Cost cutting budgets have been set by Leicester City and Leicestershire County Councils, despite protests.

The Labour-led city council approved plans to shave £28m off spending and shed about 500 jobs next year, as it seeks to save £100m by 2015.

The Conservative-led county council backed a four-year budget to save £79m and cut 1,000 posts.

Protests were held outside both meetings and the public gallery had to be cleared at the city council.

Youth services

Both authorities said they had to take tough decisions after large cuts in central government grants.

Among the city services affected are eight care homes for the elderly which are being closed, along with cuts to bus subsidies, street cleaning vehicles and funding for drug and alcohol support teams.

Staff are also facing shorter working weeks and changes to sick pay.

About 200 joined a Unison-organised demonstration before the meeting and a number carried the protests into the chamber.

At county hall, youth service cuts of about £2m - half its budget - were the focus of opposition, with dozens of teenagers saying the plans would damage their future prospects.

A county council spokesman said £58m in efficiency savings and £5.5 million from reserves had limited the impact on front-line services.

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