TRADE union leaders have vowed to fight any job losses after it was revealed Bolton is bracing itself for the biggest cost-cutting programme in more than a decade.

Bolton Council is facing having to find savings of £40 million in just 12 months to off-set the devastating financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic on town hall coffers.

Bolton Trade Union Congress (TUC) has described the looming cuts as the “worst possible news for the people of Bolton”.

Kevin Allsop from Bolton TUC said: “At the turn of the century we could have possibly buffered this but now it is impossible.

“We have never seen anything like this and it is scary and I understand why people are so nervous.”

He added: “We need to open a dialogue with our MPs on this, we need to take this to the government.”

Mr Allsop, the treasurer at Bolton TUC, said any job losses would have a knock-on effect on the economy which is already suffering as a result of the pandemic.

He called on Bolton MPs Mark Logan, Chris Green and Yasmin Qureshi to raise the local authority's shortfall with the Government.

In a statement Bolton TUC said: “There can be few savings to be had from Bolton’s budgets without hitting the most vulnerable with any job losses further impacting upon the town's shrinking economy and we call upon Parliament to find the funds that we need to make up this shortfall.

“We call upon Mr Logan alongside the other two Bolton MPs to contact the PM and insist that central government meets this £39m shortfall.

“Should they fail in these efforts we invite all three MPs to meet with Bolton TUC to develop a strategy to save the services and jobs from any cuts.”

Town Hall chiefs are putting forward proposals to cut nearly £40 million off the budget next year ­— and have warned immediate action needs to be taken or the council could effectively be declared bankrupt.

The proposals will go to councillors next week and more detail of how the savings will be made are due to be published by the end of next month.