Express & Star

New round of cuts for Wolverhampton: Libraries and children's services in the firing line

Libraries face closure and children's services will lose million of pounds under 'painful' new cuts and savings planned by Wolverhampton council.


Everything from grants for the Grand Theatre to services for older people are in the firing line as council officers try to find savings.

Hundreds of jobs will go under the latest measures being drawn up as part of five years worth of austerity measures to save £134 million, as councillors warned 'there is more pain to come'.

Bosses at the Labour run authority are laying out £16.9 million worth of those cuts to come in 2016/17. They still have to find a further £5.1m worth for next year.

The measures will see the city's 16 libraries, most of which have already lost staff and had their opening hours scaled back, lose a further £500,000 of their remaining £1.7m a year funding.

Councillors have warned that even Central Library, which has so far been spared the same fate as smaller branches, may also have its opening hours reduced along with others facing the axe again.

They appealed to volunteers to come forward to save services but cuts already imposed have not resulted in enough people coming forward to help branches to re-open full time.

  • £4.3m from 'restructuring' children's services

  • £820,000 from older people's services

  • £248,000 in grants for the Grand Theatre cut over two years

  • £73,000 cut from the Light House Media Centre

  • More bus lane cameras to bring in an extra £150,000 in fines

  • Less cleaning of residential streets to concentrate on 'litter hotspots'

  • £100,000 a year from on street parking near New Cross Hospital

  • Around 50 jobs to be axed in customer services alone.[/breakout]

However, the council stressed it was £6.9 million better off than it had expected to be following cuts and savings already made. Around 1,200 people have already left the council through redundancy, retirement or finding jobs elsewhere.

The council still has to make £46m worth of cuts over three years and warned that may go up if the Government cuts its funding even further.

The controlling Labour cabinet will vote on the latest savings on July 22.

Finance chief Councillor Andrew Johnson said: "People know that Government cuts are forcing us to make some very tough decisions, including reducing services and putting up fees and charges.

"What people want to know from their council is that we have a clear strategy in place to manage our way through the challenging circumstances we face.

"Making cuts is a painful process and unfortunately there is more pain to come.

"However, by being transparent and planning ahead we are endeavouring to deliver these cuts in a managed and well thought out way without panic or knee-jerk reactions."

Council leader Roger Lawrence said: "If there are people prepared to come forward and run libraries that may be a solution to opening hours."

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