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Wolverhampton City Council approves £123m cuts

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'Painful' cuts and plans to axe up to 2,000 council jobs in Wolverhampton were approved tonight.

Councillors met to discuss plans to try to save up to £123 million over the next five years.

Wolverhampton City Council also agreed a near two per cent increase in council tax - the first hike since 2009.

The move will effectively throw away a grant from the Government worth £800,000 as an incentive to freeze the rates again.

A total of 41 councillors voted to back the budget while 13 were against it and one abstained.

Reporter Peter Madeley gave live updates from the meeting. See how it unfolded here:

But it will mean the cash-strapped authority can raise twice that by imposing the maximum increase it is allowed to without holding a costly referendum.

The plans are set to see library opening hours drastically reduced.

Some such as Whitmore Reans, will be open just 15 hours a week.

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Staff are also facing further cuts which will see their full time hours reduced from 37 a week to 35.

It comes after the authority revealed in October last year that 1,000 jobs were under threat. That figure rose to 1,400 in December before jumping again to 2,000 last month.

Parking charges are also under review with Sunday charges expected to be introduced and a controversial evening charge brought back.

Plans have also been set out to increase the price of school meals by 8p, although schools will decide whether or not to pass that cost on to parents. The council recommends they charge £2.10 in most schools or £2 in nurseries.

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The council's outdoor events budget will be reduced and cameras will be installed to fund highway maintenance from fines.

Wolverhampton City Council will now slash £1.6million from groups across the city as it struggles to cope with crippling budget shortfalls.

The council says it has lost £147 million in government grants due to cuts imposed by the Coalition.

It is the equivalent of 52 per cent of its funding.

Councillor Andrew Johnson, finance spokesman for the ruling Labour group, said: "None of us want to be doing this.

"We are having to do it because we have to deliver a balanced budget despite how hard the Government has hit Wolverhampton.

"We are being forced to implement the cuts they have made."

See also: Wolverhampton City Council approves £123m cuts plan

Wolverhampton City Council staff devastated as huge cuts laid bare

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