Sussex

£3.5m cuts unveiled by Brighton and Hove City Council

Forty jobs are to be axed and services to young people cut across Brighton, a local authority has announced.

Brighton and Hove City Council said it must make cutbacks after the government reduced its grant by £3.5m.

Youth advice services, extra support to schools, road safety measures and free swimming for young people are among the projects affected.

Voluntary groups said they had "grave concerns" and warned the cuts were "just the beginning".

Council leader Mary Mears said: "Everybody recognises that the cuts are extremely difficult.

"But it is important to recognise the private sector has been taking the pain for quite some time and local government and public sector are not immune to taking difficult decisions.

"All councils, whatever their political makeup, cannot keep salami slicing their budget.

"We have come to a situation now where we need to fundamentally restructure how we deliver and use money more wisely."

Grave concerns

The local authority said it would seek to keep compulsory redundancies to an "absolute minimum".

Sally Polanski, the chief executive of the Brighton & Hove Community and Voluntary Sector Forum, said: "It's a false economy to cut voluntary sector contracts.

"These contracts are often helping the most vulnerable people in Brighton and Hove.

"The voluntary sector doesn't just provide support in one area, it will support the community as a whole."

Ms Polanski called for a full impact assessment is carried out before any further cuts are proposed.

She added: "We have still got grave concerns. I think this is just the beginning of cuts in Brighton and Hove."

The council said free swimming for under 60s and under 16s has been secured throughout the summer holidays, and for under 11s until 2011.

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