Cuts put 90 Sandwell Council-funded jobs at risk

Image caption, Chancellor George Osborne unveiled cuts to local authorities in June

A total of 90 council-funded jobs in the West Midlands are at risk as a result of budget cuts of £1.6m, it has been claimed.

Sandwell Council members met earlier to identify savings under the government-funded Working Neighbourhoods Fund.

Steve Eling, deputy council leader, said the savings had to be found after the government cut the fund by 10%.

The cuts will include nearly £700,000 which was to be used to help young people to find work.

The Working Neighbourhoods Fund (WNF) pays for projects like council house improvements, health schemes, crime reduction schemes and employment initiatives.

Impact on projects

Mr Eling said the 90 posts, at the council and its partner agencies, were at risk as there was "financial insecurity" over funding for some projects after March 2011.

He said the situation over the jobs would be unclear until after the government's spending review in October when the council would learn how much the WNF would receive.

Mr Eling said most projects already up and running would continue until March but the cuts were still "disappointing".

"It's a 10% reduction which will have a level of impact on projects which are tackling important issues," he said.

College contract

The Strategic Resources Committee found savings of £1.6m up to March 2011, which will mean 35 fewer council houses will be refurbished and a pilot school meals service will be slashed.

A contract with Sandwell College to help young people find work will be stopped after cuts of almost £700,000 to a project called More People into Employment.

It also means there will be less money to regenerate town centres and support businesses.

It followed the government's emergency budget in June which included plans to slash £1bn from local authorities' budgets.

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