LIBRARIES in Bolton could be run by a not-for-profit trust — while children’s centres and housing for the elderly also face massive cuts as Bolton Council looks to save £43 million.

The local authority is also looking into linking up with Wigan Council to provide services such as street cleaning and gritting, under proposals put forward by town hall chiefs.

Bosses are proposing to spend £2 million on smaller grey bins to be sent to homes across the borough — in an attempt to increase recycling rates and reduce costly landfill charges.

And the council wants to cut £1 million from the council’s Extra Care Housing scheme — which currently enables the elderly to live independently in small flats.

Another £1 million will be cut from children's centres — while bosses are also planning to set up an "arms length company" to provide some social care services.

Implementing the changes will actually cost the council up to £40 million because of the one-off set-up costs.


No libraries will be closed, but up to 10 jobs will be lost as the library and museum service is asked to cut between £300,000 and £500,000 from its budget — with bosses examining the possibility of turning the library into a not-for-profit trust.

Five libraries were closed in 2011 in earlier cuts, despite protests from the Conservative group in Bolton that the service could be manned by volunteers to keep them open.

Astley Bridge Tory councillor John Walsh said if the council had listened to suggestions then those libraries might not have had to close.

He said: “This is exactly the model I put forward three years ago — but the Labour party dismissed it as not being practical and not even worth exploring.

“If they had listened to what I had said as alternatives, just think how much they would have saved.

“It would have saved a lot of angst and maintained a decent service.

“It’s three years too late, but I’m delighted to hear it is being considered.”

Libraries campaigner Ian McHugh added: “I do know that obviously in other parts of the country this is the kind of thing local authorities have explored.

“I welcome the commitment to protect the current network of libraries, but I think everything should be done to protect the quality of service that library users currently expect from professional library staff.

“We should be told what the outcome was in those areas where libraries were closed and alternatives local collections were set up.

“In places like Halliwell, my local library, to close an entire library and replace it with a couple of hundred books when there’s nobody there to maintain the system — this model is not an acceptable alternative.

“I think people would strongly resist any further move in that direction."


There will not be a reduction in waste collection, but smaller grey bins will be sent to houses across the borough — which will cost the authority £2m to buy — pushing residents to recycle more and save money on landfill costs.

Town hall bosses are also currently in talks with Wigan Council to look at sharing or aligning the authorities’ environmental services.

This could see staff, equipment and depots shared between the two authorities, saving up to £3 million — but also costing up to 60 jobs go.

Administration staff at the council will take the biggest hit, with around 200 jobs expected to be lost with the creation of a new corporate support service.

Council chiefs say they want to merge existing support staff across the council’s departments to create a single service.

At the same time, managers and the public will be asked to “self serve” — meaning fewer staff on the counters to meet Bolton residents face to face.

People will instead be expected to email or phone the council instead.

The council's chief executive Sean Harriss said that this process would help the authority "move with the times".

He said: “This is area where we can save money that is an alternative to cutting services.

“It’s big, it’s complicated, it’s difficult but we have to strike the balance here between supporting those people who will still need to meet someone one.

"The council has always given people lots of choices about how people access the services."

The amount of council tax benefit given to the council will be cut.

Bosses are also looking into increasing the council tax charge on empty properties, to encourage owners to bring them back into use.


Included in the budget proposals are plans to cut £1 million from the council’s Extra Care Housing scheme, which works with providers to offer elderly people self-contained flats so they can maintain their independence.

The council says it wants to review services for people living within the “expensive scheme" — resulting in the loss of 40 jobs.

Provision at children’s centres — which currently includes family support teams, child minders and health services — will be slashed by up to 30 per cent to save more than £1 million.

Council leader Cllr Cliff Morris said the council had to be realistic about the challenge ahead and ‘balance the books’.

He said: “So long as we look after the most vulnerable and children are safe within the borough, and we go out of our way to get jobs, look at the economy and regenerate the town — what more could people ask of us?

“At the end of the day the Labour leadership have to be realistic, they know what the books are like, so we have left enough flexibility there.

"They will be fair, because at the moment this government is not fair with the north compared with the south.

“All we are asking is be treated fairly — the same as everyone else across the country.”


Executives are looking into creating an “arms length” company to offer in-house social care services which, they argue, could save up to £4 million in the long term.

Existing staff transferred into the new council company will have the same pay and conditions as they currently do, but new starters will be paid less, although they will receive a “minimum” of the so-called living wage.

Mr Harriss said the organisation would have to spend up to £40 million to deliver the budget because of the one-off set-up costs — dipping into council coffers to meet up to 70 per cent of the costs.

He added: “This is the biggest challenge we have ever faced financially.

“We have made big cuts before but taking more than £40 million out when you’ve already taken £100 million is clearly a lot harder than taking from the first set of budgets.

“We have known that this is going to be difficult, and we also know that it will take a long time to make some of this change happen, so we have been working hard over the last year to make sure we have got the levels of one-off funding we need in order to make this happen.”

The budget will be formally voted on in February, 2015 — but the amount the council gets from central government could change by up to £5 million depending on which party wins the general election in May.