Bolton Youth Clubs 'Could Close Early'

Capital's been told that young people in Bolton will be affected by the council's plans to cut more than 40 million pounds from its budget.

The warning's come from the union, Unison, which represents many of the staff who face losing their jobs.

Bolton's Branch Secretary has told Capital that the department which covers youth clubs and youth workers will be hit, while children's centres face a £1.5 million reduction

"That could lead to closure", says Bernadette Gallacher, "or reduced access to the parents of children in Bolton who currently get that universal service.

"That's something that we are particularly concerned about - 48 job losses in that area.

"The Connexions service is being drastically cut. We've already had five libraries that have closed and lots of young people use the libraries for internet connection.

"I think the whole range of services will at some point affect young people."

Bolton Council has told Capital among its priorities is protecting vulnerable people, particularly children.

Leader Cliff Morris said: "In September 2012, the council estimated that we had to save £35.6m between 2013 and 2015.

"Following the Government’s announcement of the Revenue Support Grant in December 2012, we have now confirmed that we must find savings of £43m, a further £9m than we previously planned.

"This is due to less funding than expected in the Revenue Support Grant and in the Early Intervention Grant and also due to the Government holding back some funding for capitalisation.

"We initially anticipated that these savings will lead to a reduction of 486 posts, but now may have to find a further 150-220 posts.

"240 of our posts are currently vacant and we have also received a further 150 requests for voluntary severance, so we are still hoping to avoid voluntary redundancies wherever possible.

"Our priority will be to protect the most vulnerable, especially vulnerable children and older people. However, the level of savings we now have to make will inevitably lead to a reduction in services across the borough."