Lancashire

Blackburn with Darwen Council set to cut 500 jobs

About 500 jobs may go at Blackburn with Darwen Council over the next two years, the council has confirmed.

The "painful" cuts package is to fill a funding gap of up to £30m - about 20% of the total council budget.

Other potential cost-saving measures include reduced library opening hours, less grass cutting and street cleaning and stopping school clothing grants.

The latest measures come on the back of savings totalling £40m made since 2010, the council said.

The Labour leader of the council, Kate Hollern, said some key services would change, be reduced or stop altogether.

She said: "Sadly our worst fears have been confirmed and we are going to have to make some very painful decisions.

"Given so much has already been cut, we are not able to protect even the areas we know are important to people. Services will be cut and jobs will be lost."

She said the council was "committed to making every penny count so will use what we have left to focus on the big priorities like jobs and protecting vulnerable people".

Michael Lee, leader of the council's Conservative group, said: "Even at the end of 2014/15 there will still be £130m for the council to spend, which is still a considerable amount of money to provide services.

"It's about making smarter use of the council funding."

The package of savings is due to be debated by the council on 31 January and the budget will be set on 4 March.

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