Herefordshire Council postpones cuts decision

Image caption,
About 80 people handed out leaflets outside the Herefordshire Council offices

Herefordshire Council has postponed a decision on plans to cut budgets and jobs.

The proposals, including the loss of 300 jobs and the closure of libraries and museums, were due to be decided by the cabinet at a meeting on Thursday.

Council leader John Jarvis said the matter would now be heard by full council on 24 May.

Expecting a decision, about 80 members of the Unison union gathered outside the council's Brockington HQ.

The Conservative-led authority has cut a total of £21.1m from its budget over the past two years.

It said it needed to cut another £32.2m over the next three years, due to cuts in government funding.

The authority plans to make cuts in corporate services, children's services, adult services and culture and leisure.

Mr Jarvis said the scale of the cuts meant it was important the issue was decided by full council, rather than just the cabinet.

'Thousands affected'

Unison branch secretary David Stevens said he was pleased by the move.

He said the decision affected not only council staff, but "the thousands of residents of Herefordshire and the services they will have removed".

More than 4,000 people have signed a petition against possible closures of museums and libraries in the county.

"Those 4,000 people, and many more before this is finished, need to come forward with ideas as to how we can save all the different services," Mr Jarvis said.

The proposed job cuts of more than 300 posts, about a quarter of the local authority's staff, were described by Unison as a "jobs massacre".

Those are on top of 280 job cuts over the past two years.

On Wednesday, 80% of Unison's members at the council voted in favour of industrial action.

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