Salford Council details £40m service cuts

Mr Merry said local government cuts were "too far, too soon and could have been better managed"

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Libraries will be merged with sports centres and recycling collections halved under Salford City Council plans to absorb cuts of more than £40m.

Budget proposals to be discussed on Wednesday reveal 500 job losses across the Labour-run authority, including in children's and adult services.

Street-cleaning and park and cemetery maintenance will also be scaled back.

The council has had its £303m budget for 2011-12 reduced by about 15% to £256m through government cuts.

The Department for Communities and Local Government said the overall cut from central government to the council had been 8.8% and that the council's estimate of 15% cuts was based on other incomes.

The council said some libraries would be relocated to sports centres while others would be asked to provide facilities for community groups.

Recycling waste, which has been collected fortnightly, is now to be removed once a month but general waste will still be taken away weekly.

A council spokeswoman said all areas had been cut except those where the council had a legal duty to maintain levels, such as the safeguarding of children.

The Early Intervention Service, used to fund activities for children, has been halved to £700,000 a year, which will reduce community trips and out-of-school activities.

Further savings of £510,000 will be made through a restructure of the Youth Service and Youth Offending Service, which will lose 25 posts and have services relocated.

'Real worry'

Labour council leader John Merry said: "We need to deliver budget cuts on a scale none of us has experienced before.

"Salford has previously benefited from area-based grants that boost our budget because we are not able to make the same amount of money from council tax as some of the richer areas of the country.

"Over the past few years we have seen the benefits this cash has brought to the city, as educational attainment has risen and crime has fallen in Salford.

"It is a real worry that this good work could now be undone."

He said he was "determined" the council would not make it harder for adults to access social care and that investment in priority areas such as looking after children and vulnerable adults would continue.

"However, it is not possible to make this level of saving without it affecting services, jobs, and ultimately people's lives," Mr Merry said

The council said it was hopeful most posts would be lost through voluntary redundancy and natural wastage.

The final budget will be set at a full council meeting on 2 March.

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