Savings of �18 million recommended by Barking and Dagenham councillors

Councillors pushed through �18 million of cuts today while recommending council tax is frozen for another year.

The council’s cabinet gave their backing to a range of money saving measures - many of which will hit front line services and public sector jobs.

Although the final decision on what stays and what goes will not be made until February it is expected that the majority of proposals given the green light at the cabinet will be approved at the final stage.

Deputy leader, Cllr Rocky Gill said members also recommended that council tax is frozen for the fifth year running to ease the pressure on families dealing with rising bills.

During the meeting at the Dagenham Civic Centre angry members of public sector union Unison met outside the building to protest against the cuts.

They claim the council has not listened Unison’s suggestions on how savings can be made without losing a large number of jobs.

Speaking today, leader of the council, Cllr Liam Smith, said some proposed savings had been withdrawn or reviewed following a public consultation process. These include shutting the Broadway Theatre, reductions in sheltered housing services, and axing the green wheelie bin service.

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But he added: “We still have to make very significant cuts which will be painful, both in terms of the services we provide sometimes having to change or end, but also in terms of the jobs that will unfortunately be lost here in the council.

“Every job that is lost has consequences for those people and for their families - and that is devastating.”

Cllr Gill said that because of government pressure the council was expecting to make a further �15 million of savings in 2014/2015.

“Those demands mean that we are now virtually down to the bone and will have to stop a number of services in the future - or seek partners to run them when once the council would have done so,” he said.