A SENIOR Labour councillor has defended cuts in his department.

Cllr Nick Peel, executive member for environmental services at Bolton Council, said it was necessary to cut his budget to protect other services.

About £3.4 million is expected to be slashed from the department’s budget for 2014 to 2015, as the council looks to save a total of £21.7 million. In a draft budget to be approved next month, cost-cutting may include scrapping the graffiti team, scaling back grass cutting teams and reducing the provision of play areas, bowling greens and sports pitches.

Cllr Peel said it was necessary to make tough decisions to protect the more vital services.

He added: “The Labour group’s priorities are protecting the most in society and trying tso stimulate the local economy.

“It’s fair to say some departments have been hit harder. We’re not going to cut services for children to protect street cleaning and maintenance of parks. It’s a strategy the whole Labour Party supports.”