Union chiefs have hit out at further cuts to Blackpool Council’s budget which include the loss of up to 75 jobs with mental health workers among those at risk.
Local government union Unison says last week’s announcement the council must make nearly £20m of savings in its 2020/21 budget flies in the face of Conservative promises made before the General Election that austerity is ending, and will put even more pressure on town hall staff.
Neil Adams, secretary of the Blackpool local government branch of Unison, said: “The council has been left with little choice than to fund vital children’s services, to the extent they have been desperately needing, or fail those who need these services.
“Yet to do this means cuts elsewhere to services that are already stretched to breaking point. The cuts this year see a vital, unique mental health service for Blackpool residents removed, with nothing to replace it.”
It is proposed to close a council run residential centre on Gloucester Avenue which provides support for people with mental health issues.
Mr Adams said up to seven jobs could be at risk if staff cannot be redeployed elsewhere.
The property provides short term accommodation for up to six people but currently has just two residents, who will remain until their treatment ends and they return home.
After that, the support will be offered in a non-clinical setting through pathways including the Centre for Independent Living and the Crisis Cafe.
Mr Adams also warned cuts could put more pressure on remaining council staff.
He said: “Council staff, including Unison members give 100 per cent day in, day out supporting some of the most vulnerable residents in Blackpool.
“These cuts yet again mean less services and less investment in Blackpool, with higher and unsustainable workloads for staff.
“Stress and depression is rife, with many staff looking to leave and the consequences for our vulnerable residents is untold.”
The council says it hopes redundancies will be voluntary, or met through deleting vacant posts and ending temporary contracts.