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Job cuts revealed at Walsall Council

Walsall | News | Published:

Hundreds of jobs will be axed, new care charges introduced and a market closed as a Black Country council agreed millions of pounds worth of cuts - amid protests and heckling from the public gallery.

Hundreds of jobs will be axed, new care charges introduced and a market closed as a Black Country council agreed millions of pounds worth of cuts - amid protests and heckling from the public gallery.

More than £17 million must be clawed back in Walsall over the next 12 months in savings described as "too far, much too fast" by opposition councillors.

A total of 438 council posts will be lost, with 102 expected to be through compulsory redundancy, as a raft of measures were pushed through by the Conservative council last night.

They were heckled from a packed public gallery at the meeting of the full council, while up to 30 banner-waving pensioners gathered outside the town hall in protest to planned reductions in funding for Ring and Ride services.

Darlaston Market is shutting, creches axed and New Art Gallery will be closed on Sundays and Bank Holidays under the budget.

The meals on wheels contract with Sodexo was forced to end to make savings while the future of libraries is under review. However, council chiefs insist none will close this year and community groups are being sought to run some branches.

A cut of over £30m in Government cash has been blamed for the cuts and Labour leader councillor Tim Oliver said: "These are cuts which we say are much too far, much too fast."

But finance chief councillor Chris Towe said: "Those things that we believe are important will be protected."

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