After meeting to discuss the issue inside the council chamber, Labour unanimously voted through the controversial cuts – in a vote lasting less than 30 seconds – despite protest and pleas from the public.
The cuts will mean the loss of more than 200 jobs, with almost 5% of the council’s budget earmarked for closure. Council tax is also set to rise by 1.9%, though parking charges in city’s neighbourhoods will not be going ahead.
The cuts have been a contentious issue of debate over the last few months; two weeks ago – after a large protest – three youth centres were saved from being slashed along with the council’s archaeology unit when an extra £5.8m was found in the budget.
Nobody of my political persuasion comes into power to make these sorts of cutsSimon LettsCouncillor
Two councillors – Don Thomas and Keith Morrell – also left the Labour group last year in protest, creating a ‘Labour Councillors Against the Cuts’. This group proposes an alternative solution, using reserves, shifting funds and borrowing from the government in order to plug the gap in the budget.
The bad news sets to continue. An extra £20m is set to be cut next year, so the the youth centres – in Newtown, Woolston and Millbrook – and other services remain under threat.