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Controversial changes agreed by council executive
CONTROVERSIAL changes to Trafford’s children’s centres, libraries and adult social care provision were agreed to at a special council executive meeting last Monday.
The cash-strapped council needs to make savings of £34million as part of its two year budget – the majority of which was approved at full council on February 20 – but certain proposals were voted on separately by the executive.
Leader of Trafford Labour Group, Cllr David Acton, slammed the process as ‘undemocratic’ and ‘wrong’.
“This is part of the budget, yet we set the budget last week so it becomes a fait accompli,” he said.
However, leader of the council, Cllr Matt Colledge, hit back, arguing that the separate consultation on the proposals had not been completed on February 20, so it would have been wrong to agree to changes before the documents were returned.
Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Linda Blackburn, executive member for children and families said the reconfiguration of the borough’s 16 children’s centres into six community hubs had been proposed because the current system is not fit for purpose and that she had taken views expressed in the consultation on board.
But Labour councillor, Tom Ross, questioned how Cllr Blackburn could claim to have listened to the public, as 73 per cent of those asked were opposed to the changes.
The proposal was passed by the executive, along with changes to library services, which will see some full time posts gradually phased out and more volunteers brought in.
A council spokesman said: "Trafford Council confirmed that the recent Executive budget decision relating to its library service will see only a small reduction in posts over the next two years.
"It reinforced that no front line staff would be made redundant. It also clarified that Trafford libraries would always have paid staff working in them, volunteers would never be left to run a library alone."
Changes to the provision of adult social care were also accepted - Cllr Michael Young, executive member for adult social services, arguing that although residential homes such as Katherine Lowe and Broome House are to close, better use of the locality is to be made and the installation of a Telecare service will allow the elderly to remain in their own homes.
But Labour councillor, Joanne Bennett, argued that sheltered accommodation is oversubscribed and the changes will be detrimental to Trafford’s vulnerable people and cost more in the long run.
Cllr Young said: “I believe that these are the best decisions that this council can take.”