Fewer job cuts now needed at Walsall Council

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Fewer job losses will be needed at Walsall Council because of budget cuts than originally thought, leaders said.

The number has been reduced from 339 to 277, while 127 people have taken voluntary redundancy.

Council tax will be frozen, and libraries, leisure centres, museums and children's centres will not be closed.

But a saving of £21m needs to be made in the next financial year, which council leader Mike Bird said would mean making "some tough decisions".

The authority, which is run by a Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition, employs a total of more than 9,200 staff.

Proposed cuts for the 2014-15 budget include taking £930,000 in funding away from children's centres, and leaders said job losses in adult social care would help them save £250,000.

Savings increased

The authority will also increase the cost of burial by 5.5%.

The council had originally planned to cut £19m from its budget in the coming year but said it was having to carry over savings from previous years, increasing that total by another £2m.

Mr Bird said: "This has not been easy and some tough decisions have been made. There's no escaping that.

"But we've worked to ringfence as much as we can the things that people tell us that they most want us to keep."

The budget proposals will be put to the full council on Thursday.

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