'The worst is yet to come' - Bolton Council slashes £1.5 million from highways budget
HIGHWAYS chiefs have pledged to protect frontline services as they look to make more than £1.5 million of savings.
Among a host of potential savings measures, the highways, engineering and parking department is proposing to operate under a single head of service, rather than the three head positions that currently exist.
This will mean merging the sectors of parking, development and delivery into one large sector.
Cllr Nick Peel, Bolton Council’s executive cabinet member for the environment said: “I think the public’s perception about the cuts is that people are becoming numb to them but what many people don’t realise is the second half of the cuts are only just being finalised.
“If people think they have seen the worst, they haven’t — the worst is yet to come.”
There are plans to locate all back office staff into one building and to route phone calls through Bolton Council’s One Stop Shop — rather than people speaking directly to the department.
But the council insists that despite these cutbacks, the staffing of front line highways services will be protected.
It is proposed that more than £170,000 worth of savings will be made by staff members taking either voluntary severance packages or early retirement.
There could also be a substantial saving of more than £500,000 in the department’s insurance budget, where it is felt more money is currently being set aside than is needed to pay out.
This is because, despite receiving a large number of legal claims from residents, the council have said they have a strong record of winning such cases.
Consultation has just started on the savings and efficiencies plan and will close on Friday, December 6. Once the consultation has finished, the findings will be studied and they will form another report which will be considered by councillors.
If accepted the proposals will be implemented from April 2014.
Cllr David Chadwick, Bolton Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport admitted that the cut backs would be “very difficult”.
He said: “None of the elected members expected to be having to reduce staff like this.
“Of course there is going to be some fallout from these measures but I know that the staff we have are dedicated and proud to be delivering these services in Bolton — they are very hard working and so I am confident we can continue to deliver these services well.”
Comments are closed on this article.