Derby City Council approves £25m in budget cuts

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Budget cuts of almost £25m that could result in 530 job losses have been approved by Derby City Council.

The cuts were described by council opposition Labour leader Paul Bayliss as "devastating" and "the worst in more than 30 years".

It will mean the closure of six children's centres, but two care homes for the elderly have been spared.

The Conservative-led council is also freezing council staff salaries and council tax for the next two years.

Lollipop ladies

Conservative council leader Harvey Jennings said the council had decided to save the two care homes after an appeal from residents.

"I visited one of the care homes and spoke to the residents there and the one thing they did ask for was a transition period - they didn't say they necessarily didn't want the homes to close - but they wanted a proper transition," Mr Jennings said.

"I thought that was important so we went back and looked at it again."

Mr Bayliss said: "Essentially we have a budget here that is the worst settlement in 30-odd years - certainly worse than in the 1980s - a terrible devastating cut to services that the citizens of Derby will treasure and miss."

He said the closure of the six children's centres in the city will be "a great loss".

Social service costs will also rise and funding for lollipop ladies at schools and greenhouses in the city will also be cut.

'Stressful period'

Protesters gathered outside the Assembly Rooms ahead of the five-hour council meeting.

The job losses are expected to affect front-line staff, but the exact number of lay-offs have not yet been announced.

Mr Jennings said he was relieved to see the budget passed in what he described as a "stressful" period, but added another £8m in cuts were needed next year.

The council is losing £17.4m of government funding next year, with a further £9.5m being cut in 2012-13.

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