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Manchester's cuts herald 'unmitigated misery'

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Manchester City Council’s leader said the government’s spending cuts imposed on the city would bring about “unmitigated misery” as he outlined the impact drastic of budget reductions on council services today.

Sir Richard Leese (Lab) said £109m in cuts this year and the £170m next year imposed through the local government settlement would see few council services escape unscathed.

Sir Richard said the loss of 340 supported housing units for needy families,the elderly and vulnerable was the most damaging cut, followed closely by the ending of council control of Sure Start centres, which will be offered to private providers or closed.

He added that around 20 youth centres would be offered to private providers, while five libraries, two swimming pools and three leisure centres will either be closed or offered to third parties. Car parking charges and childcare costs will rise, he added, with other services, such as school crossing patrols reviewed. He said all public toilets in the city would close, apart from one, which would become fee paying.

Sir Richard said the council would also move from weekly to fortnightly bin collections, in a move that is likely to anger communities secretary Eric Pickles who has stressed the need for councils to maintain weekly bin collections.

The council has already announced that up to 2,025 full-time posts will have to go.

Sir Richard said: “This is the worst budget for the city of Manchester that anyone can remember. There will be almost unmitigated misery. I cannot put it any other way”.


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