Stoke & Staffordshire

Stoke-on-Trent City Council warns '500 jobs could go'

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Media captionStoke-on-Trent City Council blamed central government cuts

Up to 500 jobs could go at Stoke-on-Trent City Council in a bid to save £31m, the authority has said.

Council leader Mohammed Pervez issued the warning as the authority revealed its proposed budget for 2015/16.

He blamed central government funding reductions for the anticipated cuts and said Stoke was one of the hardest hit councils in the country.

Unite, which represents about 600 workers at the council, said it was "a terrible state to be in".

"Our members will now have a fairly bleak Christmas wondering if they will have a job in the future," said regional secretary Gerard Coyne.

"It's hard to see how this can take place without services and the quality of them being affected."

The city council, which expects government funding to fall by £15.3m next year, has stated there will be a "fundamental redesign" of business support services and "accelerated work" to transform adult social care.

'Tough decisions'

It said there would be a rethink about how services like waste collection and street cleaning operate.

About 1,800 staff have already left the council in the past four years.

Mr Pervez said: "While we have done everything that we can to effectively deliver a balanced budget and invest in the city, we inevitably have to take tough decisions."

The council tax allocation will be frozen if the budget is agreed.

An extra £2.1m will be ploughed into children's social care and learning disabilities services will receive an additional £2m.

The council said road access to Etruria Valley would be improved and a new library would be created at Smithfield.

A new retirement village for over 55s would also be finished new financial year.

Local Government Minister Kris Hopkins said Stoke's spending had increased since the coalition took power.

"Every bit of the public sector needs to do their bit to pay off the deficit left by the last administration including local government which accounts for a quarter of all public spending," he said.

Consultation is taking place and the budget will be decided on 26 February.

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