1. ITV Report

Stoke-on-Trent City Council set to cut nearly 250 jobs

Credit: ITV News Central

Stoke-on-Trent City Council are set to cut nearly 250 jobs, so it can spend millions of pounds on improving its ‘inadequate’ children’s services.

Council bosses have revealed plans to review staffing, including cutting 74 jobs in street care and green spaces, and 70 from social care integration and wellbeing.

The council say 259 jobs will be cut in total, with 11 created elsewhere, resulting in a net loss of 248 jobs.

In total, more than £5.5 million is being cut to pay for the investment in children's services.

This is in addition to the £17 million being cut in the 2019/20 budget.

The amount cut from Stoke-on-Trent City Council's budget over the last eight years.

Other proposed cuts include reducing on-site security at car parks in favour of a "floating" team to respond to incidents when they arise, and reducing the number of Christmas illuminations and decorations.

Credit: ITV Central

A public consultation on the proposals has been launched today (Monday 12 August).

The council says it is seeing "unprecedented demand for children’s social care services", and that the proposals will allow it to prioritise investment in children following an 'inadequate' rating from Ofsted earlier this year.

The funding issues facing all councils are well known, and Stoke-on-Trent City Council is not alone in this challenge of ensuring that we can effectively support the most vulnerable within our communities against a backdrop of increasing demand and tightening funding.

Providing just one day’s worth of social care for children, adults with learning disabilities and older people costs £400,000.

These are tough decisions to make but we have to press ahead with these proposals so that we can meet the real and significant demands on our services now.

– Council leader Abi Brown

GMB, the union for council workers, has slammed the council's plans.

“Giving almost 250 people to boot is no way to ‘rebuild the city’ and is the sign of a council in crisis. “And hiding devastating job cuts behind the guise of ‘investing in children’ is a particularly dirty trick. “Which every way you look at it, this is robbing Peter to pay Paul. Perhaps the council should stop dishing out six figures salaries to top brass before sacking loyal staff members.”

– Dave Warwick, GMB Organiser

Unison have also criticised the announcement, saying it is "absolutely horrific" and "a ridiculous way of addressing the poor Ofsted report".