Bolton Council and Unison lock horns over plans for cuts

A row has broken out between Unison and Bolton Council over cuts to the borough’s children’s services.

Unison has claimed that the council plans to take £12m from services – they say the equivalent of 37 jobs – while Bolton argues that the cuts amount to just £800,000 or 22 posts.

The Bolton branch of Unison is heading up a rally in the town centre this weekend to protest against cuts proposed to education social workers and the Connexions programme, a public service that offers advice to young people.

The £12m figure, however, also includes proposed cuts to youth and early years services according to Andrea Egan, Unison’s children’s services convener.

Bolton Council denies this, saying the total cuts to all these services will amount to no more than £800,000, adding that the quality of services will not be affected. A council spokesman told Community Care that as much of that amount as possible would be taken out of travel costs and building maintenance.

“Unison is lobbying about one issue, but using inflated figures from a number of issues to push their cause,” a council spokesman said.

The spokesman went on to say that consultation around the proposed cuts was open until 9 February and no final decisions had been made.

Unison, however, claimed a lack of time made the consultation meaningless. “Thirty days for a consultation is just not enough,” said Egan. “We understand that there have to be cuts, but what we’re asking for is to be involved in the consultation with the local authority.

“We don’t believe the statements they’ve made are true – you can’t cut the budget and still provide a good service. The quality of service to young people is going to suffer.”

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