Stoke & Staffordshire

Stoke council plans £24m spending cuts for 2012/13

Plans for a reduction of £24m in public spending next year have been announced by Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

If agreed, they would lead to cuts in services - including day centres and respite care for the elderly and disabled.

The budget, which has been proposed by an all-Labour cabinet, would also result in the loss of almost 360 jobs.

A public consultation will now run until 23 December ahead of the final budget-setting meeting in February.

Despite the size of the cuts, the council said this budget was also about investment, and it hoped to divert £5m of savings into job creation programmes.

Independent trust

Council leader Mohammed Pervez said: "Economic growth is going to be absolutely key... jobs are our number one priority.

"I do accept that there will be elements within this budget that certain people will have real issues with.

"We need to open up dialogue with those residents, and if at the end of that period we feel we need to make changes, we will fine-tweak the budget."

Talking about the planned closure of four care centres, Andy Day from North Staffordshire Older People's Association, said: "I'm very concerned; again it's money driving the agenda, rather than looking at the needs of people first."

The proposals could also see Ford Green Hall and Etruria Industrial Museum - which are both currently owned and run by the city council - transferred to an independent trust, or closed.

The authority planned to cut £36m for this financial year 2011/12, but recently announced that it was likely to miss that target by just under £2m.

This is the second year that councils in England have faced cuts in their funding in the wake of the coalition government's spending review.

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