Town hall chiefs unveil savings

COUNCIL chiefs are unveiling a major cost-cutting programme of mergers, closures and outsourcing worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The Cabinet is looking at outsourcing three nurseries including the one at Sue Bramley children’s centre in Barking and awarding a three-year contract to a company providing security guards for empty buildings, hostels and libraries.

Social care bosses are also preparing to unveil a �930,000 cost-cutting revamp of homes for people with learning disabilities.

The Labour council is also planning to close down its loss-making plant nursery in Central Park, Dagenham, which plunged �82,000 into the red last year.

Barking and Dagenham Cabinet ratified the plans last night after council chiefs unveiled proposals to shut 12 community centres next March unless they were taken over by community groups for “peppercorn rents”.

Council bosses also intend to merge their out-of-hours emergency response team with several neighbouring boroughs. Chiefs insist a merger would better prepare them to respond to major incidents.

Labour council leader Cllr Liam Smith said: “We will do our utmost to protect local services to the people of the borough, especially the vulnerable, but we cannot pretend that cuts on this scale will not hurt.”

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