South West Wales

Cuts which threaten 700 jobs approved by Swansea councillors

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Media captionUp to £45m could be cut over three years, with the council refusing to rule out compulsory redundancies

Councillors in Swansea have approved proposals which could see nearly 700 jobs lost.

Up to £45m could be cut over three years, with the council refusing to rule out compulsory redundancies.

Three care homes and a library could close, community meal provision could be withdrawn and school meal prices increased.

Deputy leader Christine Richards said the situation was the "most challenging this council has ever seen".

The proposals will now go out to further consultation. The full council will decide on the budget on 18 February.

'Very, very tough'

In the cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Ms Richards called the £45m the "elephant in the room" which the council had to face.

"What we're trying to do is stick to our political beliefs, to avoid compulsory redundancies if possible.

"It's the most challenging this council has ever seen. It's a huge, huge ask and it's very, very tough."

Councillor Rob Stewart, cabinet member for finance, said compulsory redundancies could not be ruled out but added the council was working with the unions.

Up to 687 posts could go.

"It's a hugely difficult challenge for this and all other Welsh authorities. We have to act now. Education and social services will be protected as much as possible," he said.

Council leader David Phillips added: "This isn't a position any of us wanted to be in. It is not something with which any of us are comfortable."

Mr Stewart had previously said 387 posts were already earmarked to go in 2014 and 2015.

Proposals under consideration include:

  • Reducing the subsidy to the Grand Theatre
  • Closing three council-run care homes
  • Withdrawing community meal provision
  • Replacing street lighting with LED bulbs
  • Increasing school meal charges
  • Withdrawing school crossing patrols

Consultations with the public will take place over the coming weeks.

Mr Stewart said this was the first time the council had publicised details of the budget this early in the process.

He added: "Over the past few months we've carried out a forensic review of spending across all services, but the proposals are more than a savings exercise.

"We are reshaping the council and standing up for Swansea by investing in our priorities and the front-line services that matter most to people."

The council said the situation was a direct result of UK government cuts.

The Welsh government has announced it will be reducing its funding for the council by 3.1%.

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