FURTHER cuts to council services could follow the four year programme of £100 million of savings in Bolton, civic leaders fear.

Bolton Council leader Cllr Cliff Morris believes further cuts could come in 2015 and 2016.

Cllr Morris said that while no announcements had been made on what monies the council would receive from central government further down the line, he believed that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had made it clear in his autumn statement that austerity measures would continue.

Cllr Morris said: “The grants have not been announced but we can only look at the Chancellor’s Autumn statement.

“He said there would be austerity measures for a few years to come.

“We have a battle as it is to find £40 million over the next two years.

If we reorganise services, we have to make sure we don’t have to do it again in 12 months time.”

The council has seen more than £60 million of cuts to its budgets for 2011/12 and 2012/13.

Another £40 million of savings need to be made between 2013 and 2015.

A council tax freeze was announced earlier this year for 2012, but the council is working on the assumption that there will be a four per cent rise in 2013.

Cllr Morris added: “There is no reason why we should go away from objectives of regeneration, employment and looking after the most vulnerable adults and children.

“We are all living longer so looking after the elderly will become more of a challenge.

“But we’re determined we’re going to look after the most vulnerable.

“We know some decisions won’t be popular but I hope people will understand if it is explained properly.”

He added: “I still think this Government is cutting too fast and too deep.”

Cllr Morris said he hoped there were things to be positive about in 2012, however.

He said the start of work on new developments such as the transport interchange and revamped market would bring jobs and events such as Ironman and the food and drink festival would bring business to the town centre.

He added: “But we’re under no illusions.

“We have to work hard at this and work with the businesses in the town centre.”